Monday, 31 January 2011

Jeju Korea - Elvis Tribute Cruise - Wollongong Flights - London Transfers - Frommers Praise

Travel briefs w/c Jan 31  2011.

Feel like a walk ?

Visitors to Korea now have access to some fabulous walks with the recognition of nine geological  sites on Jeju Island. These are the first in Korea to earn UNESCO recognition and with it, Jeju becomes the only place in the world with three UNESCO certifications.  Mountains, caves, cliffs, beaches and more.  Check out the official travel web sites and be on your way to a real adventure. Email      A  little bit of pre-travel  knowledge will make the adventure even more memorable, so make the first contact via the web of telephone (02) 9252 4147.  

Remembering Elvis

It's a three-night Elvis Tribute Cruise aboard Rhapsody of the Seas. Departure date for this 'cruise to nowhere' is  24 November 2011.   You'll be joining ten of the best Elvis tribute artists performing  in the ship's 850 seat theatre and in various entertainment lounges.    Prices start at $820 per person  in an inside twin bed cabin.  To check out the various prices and availabilities send an email to or talk to the man himself by ringing (07) 3488 0103 

Gunning the Gong

One of the most underrated destinations in the city of Wollongong.  Here's another reason why you need to cast your directions that-a-way.   Local aviation family, the Clarks, have five packages including the Smithy  named in memory of Australia's greatest aviator.   

Pilot Chris Clark is the man in charge. By the way, when I say Clark family, I mean Dad Tony who is an airline captain based in Hong Kong, and brother Jamie who is in training with the RAAF. Now that gives me real confidence. 

Chris just loves the Gong and he wants to share it with you.  You will travel in style as he will also have you dressed in Top Gun style outfits including cap and goggles. Go visit     

Door to door transfers in London

A new 24-7 door-to-door transfer service is now available linked to Kings Cross, St Pancras, Liverpool Street, Charing Cross, Victoria, Paddington, Marylebone, Euston and Waterloo stations.  Sounds a lot like Monopoly, except here the travel is for real and the prices most affordable.  It's a private car transfer between London's central rail stations and some 1000 hotels.  Each transfer costs just $58 and covers up to three people. For information go visit 

Frommer's is the word

Praise doesn't come any higher than the words included in Frommer's 2011 Guide.

'Step aboard one of the 112 passenger yachts (SeaDream 1 or SeaDream 11) and you're boarding a floating club, with super pampering service and cuisine which is fine, fine, fine.' It doesn't come any better.  Itineraries include the eastern Caribbean, the Mediterranean,  Northern Europe and the Amazon. The published prices include all-ocean-view staterooms, beers, wines, spirits from the open bars, fabulous cuisine, through to  a 30-course golf simulator, mountain bikes for on-shore explorations, and even on-board gratuities. 

So good is the experience not only is it club-like, but you  really feel like the yacht club is yours. Why not check it out.  You can do just that 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.   

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Visuals :

SeaDream 1 at the entrance to Portofino
Southern Biplane at Wollongong

Monday, 24 January 2011

Arctic Cruises - India Tour - South America - Tunisia - Bundaberg

See the Taj Mahal on a Tempo 8-day tour

John Crook

Unlock Arctic secrets

A 14-day adventure into the Russian Arctic is just one of the amazing experiences awaiting adventure seekers.  Aurora Expeditions offers Voyage to the End of the Earth, which is just one of several arctic itineraries.  Prices start from US$8,080 per person.  Conditions apply.  The  fully refurbished Akademik Shokalskiy provides accommodation for a maximum of 54 passengers.  The philosophy of Aurora Expeditions, an Australian-owned adventure company specialising in small group voyages to the Polar regions.   The voyages are staffed by a Russian crew, supported by premium expedition leaders, naturalists, historians and geologists.   For more information call (02) 9252 1033 or go visit the web site,

Staying in the history zones

Here's a chance to really soak up the rich history and culture of India.   An 8-day tour, priced from $1373, takes in  Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and more, - plenty to truly satisfy the adventurous amongst us.  Some of the highlights include a morning boat ride on the sacred Ganges in the holy city of Varanasi.    Of course there's a visit to the Taj Mahal.  Take an elephant or a jeep ride.  No two days are the same in this magical country.   Terms and conditions apply, so to get the facts telephone 1300 558 987 or go visit 

Got a spare 21 days ?

Find a gap in your diary and prepare yourself for one of the most exciting adventures around.  Priced from $10,995 per person twin share, the Very Best of South America awaits.  Departure date is November 6, 2011.   The itinerary has been prepared by the owner of APTouring, Geoff McGeary.  He also hosts the group  for the four days they are  in Buenos Aires.    Have a think about these highlights.  For instance, guests get to visit Rio, Santiago, Lima, Machu Piccu and Lake Titicaca, just to mention a few.  Included also is luxury accommodation, internal flights within South America, most meals, airport transfers and all gratuities for land touring and cruise staff.

Got the idea ?  Well, convert the interest into actually bookings.  Get the story by calling 1300 229 804.  Or, go visit Travel agents also have the facts.

Get the full itinerary first

Once you check the details of a surprise filled Tunisia, with all the highlights included, you will be tempted.  Ancient royal palaces, underground villas built by wealthy Romans, great mosques and a cliff village where streets are too narrow for two persons to pass. Welcome to Tunisia.   The fully-escorted tour which departs April 10, 2011  is priced from $6550 per person and that includes return air and taxes from Sydney,  19-nights twin share in first class and deluxe accommodation. Breakfasts and dinners daily and an English speaking guide throughout.   Call toll-free 1800 044 519 or visit

Bundaberg is in business

Whilst much of Queensland has suffered from the recent floods, it should be noted that tourist areas such as Bundaberg North Burnett are in business.  The majority of the main attractions are operating as per normal.   In most cases, no need to cancel bookings,- let's face it tourists are still visiting the region, the turtles at Mon Repos are still arriving to lay their eggs, whilst hatchlings are already returning back to the open ocean.  For a true report on the current picture, telephone  (07) 4153 8888 or visit

* Please note conditions may apply to these packages  and prices are subject to change and availability.  The information is provided as a guide only.  Check with your travel agent. 

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Monday, 17 January 2011

Europe River Cruise - Hotels Vienna - Solo Europe - Air Pacific Flood Passengers - Hotel Charles


John Crook

Fancy taking a river cruise ?

Not only that, but there are savings galore as well. That is, for new bookings confirmed before February 25th 2011. What a grand way to get the new season on the move. The cruises in question are fully crewed and are aboard all-inclusive luxury hotel barges with travel on inland waterways of nine European canals, rivers, lakes and lagoons. For instance, aboard Renaissance, travelling the Burgundy/Upper Loire there are discounts of $700 off per cabin on cruises departing April 3, May 1 and May 15. To get the facts on these Spring cabin discounted cruises, and for a free brochure telephone 1800 331 582. You could actually check this out right now by visiting

New accommodation in Vienna

Travelling to Austria? Then consider a night or two at the new Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom, which opened its doors in December. By early 2011 you will also have the choice of staying at the latest hotel from the Shangri-La group. This is a 400 bed five-star hotel. Vienna these days offers a choice of selecting pure luxury or if watching the budget there’s a heap of delightfully Austrian single-star pensions.

To get the latest information on accommodation and general tourist news, email

Hotel Charles- a fine place

Heading towards Tasmania? Then, if Launceston is your destination, here’s news of a hotel which is priced to suit most pockets. Rates start from $139 a night for a hotel king room. Conditions apply. For other prices, go check The hotel is located at 287 Charles Street.

Good news for solo travellers to Europe

If travelling through Europe and you happen to be a solo traveller, here’s news which could be of interest. An Eastern European tourism specialist has developed a registry for solo folk who would like to save money and enjoy companionship with like minded travellers whilst travelling through Europe. This means that solo travellers of the same gender on a special-journey range of tours have the opportunity to avoid single supplements and possibly save several hundred dollars. Check this web site for the details There are nine itineraries for solo travellers during 2011. Telephone 1300 363 554.

Passengers impacted by recent floods

Air Pacific guests with flight bookings impacted by the recent major flood events in Brisbane should check with their travel agent or directly with Air Pacific to ascertain rebooking considerations. Please note that all refunds/amendments need to be processed through the Air Pacific office. For information telephone 1800 230 150

* 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.

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Renault Eurodrive - Carnival Spirit - Solar Springs - Banrock Station - Japan Rail


BOOK and pay before March 31 for delivery before December 31 2011 and Renault Eurodrive will give an extra 10-days free with bookings of 21-days or more on its luxury Laguna range – and an extra 7-days free on 41-other models to suit every need and every budget for European holiday motoring.

The Laguna range includes the luxury Berline sedan, luxury Estate and the sporty two-door coupe, while other Renault and Dacia* vehicles range from economic compacts through mid-size, family-size, luxury and people-movers.

All include free delivery and return in 17-French cities and airports, and for bookings made before March 31 this year fifty per cent off delivery and return fees at 16-cities and airports in Belgium, Germany, Holland, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

Renault Eurodrive also offers unlimited kilometres, full insurance with no excess in forty-two countries, 24-hour roadside assistance, full factory warranty and Europe GPS with virtually all vehicles; minimum age for drivers is 18 years, with no upper-age limits and no additional-driver charges.

Prices begin from a low $1299 for 21-days lease of a 2-door Twingo compact with a further 7-days additional use free; the Laguna range begin from $2299 for 21-days for the luxury family-size Berline plus ten days additional use free. Past clients since 2006 receive a further 3-days free on top of these bonus days on all 44-models in the Renault and Dacia* range.

See travel agents, phone toll-free 1300 55 11 60 or visit for full details and a detailed brochure online.

* Dacia is a Romanian car maker and subsidiary of Renault.


THE world's largest cruise line, Carnival Cruise Lines will base one of its ships fulltime in Australia from next year – after never having ventured into Australian waters before.

The 88,500 tonne Carnival Spirit will be the largest cruise ship ever to sail year round from Australia when she arrives in Sydney in October 2012 to operate a schedule of 8-12 day voyages to the Pacific Islands.

Carrying 2,667 passengers, Carnival Spirit will be the first ship to be based in Sydney year-round that will be too tall to sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge; she will instead have to be based at the Circular Quay Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Founded in 1972 and based in Miami, Carnival Cruise Lines is the best known cruise brand in North America and is expected to carry more than four million passengers this year – the most in the global cruise industry. Approximately two-thirds of Carnival Spirit's cabins will feature private balconies, and facilities will include a 22 metre corkscrew water slide, four swimming pools, a miniature golf course, jogging track and a sport court.

There'll be a choice of 16 lounges and bars, a 1,170-seat three-deck-high theatre, a two-level main dining room, reservations-only steakhouse and an expansive casual poolside restaurant. She'll also have a two-level health spa with wrap-around ocean views and an Internet café. Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia said the cruise line's move into Australia was testament to both the recent growth and the ongoing potential of the local cruise industry. "Cruising is booming in this country because it offers passengers a great value holiday inclusive of accommodation, top quality dining and entertainment that appeal to all age groups," she said.

Carnival Spirit will offer a year round schedule of 8- to 12-day cruises to the Pacific Islands and a selection of 13-day sailings to New Zealand beginning October 25, 2012, with the program expected to go on sale by the middle of this year.  The shipboard experience will be tailored to the Australian market with onboard spending in Australian dollars and no tipping will be required.

Ms Sherry said while the primary market would be Australians and New Zealanders, Carnival's strong brand recognition in the United States would play a role in attracting more US tourists to Australia. For more information visit


SOLAR Springs Health Retreat at Bundanoon in the picturesque NSW Southern Highlands – 1.5 hours drive from Sydney and a little more from Canberra – has a value-packed 3-night midweek getaway for those seeking a tone-up after the blow-outs of Christmas and New Year.

Their Summer Stunner package includes three therapies or consultations (choose from Solar Polish, Special Back Treatment, Manicure, Pedicure, Swedish Massage, Personal Training, a Physical Health Assessment or a Naturopathy Session,) twin-share or single accommodation, and all meals that are well-balanced to provide adequate protein, healthy fats, whole grains and plenty of seasonal fruit and vegetables.

Vegetarian meals and other diets are also catered for and wine is available by the glass at optional cost.

As many supervised activities as you want to fit in during your stay are also included in the cost, ranging from games, use of the 25-metre indoor heated pool, and meditation classes and health talks, to cycling, tennis, archery and walking in the adjacent Morton National Park.

The  3-night Summer Stunner package is priced from just $880pp twin-share or $975 single and is available Sunday to Wednesday or Tuesday to Friday. For full details phone 1800 044 944 – and ask also about their New Year New You package for the overweight and tired seeking to be healthier, fitter and more energetic.


THERE'S at least one place in Australia where the current floods are being welcomed: a large part of the wetland and floodplain at Banrock Station in South Australia's Riverland is now inundated for the first time in 14 years.

Like most places in the Murray Darling Basin, Banrock Station has been hindered by years of drought, but a spokeswoman says the flooding will bring enormous benefits to the River Murray and surrounding wetland and floodplain ecology.

In recent years Banrock Station has deliberately dried and flooded its wetlands to mimic natural cycles which stimulate the breeding of native animal and bird species. The natural flooding will now provide what the company has been recreating in its wetland, but on a much larger scale.

"Many of our native aquatic species will only breed in significant numbers in flood conditions, so if it's been too long between drinks, there may be very few of some species left to breed," Banrock Station Conservation and Wetland Manager Kate Thorn said. "The flood will also flush salt out of the system, give plants a big drink of fresh water and, most importantly, deposit a layer of fresh water into the ground, which will sustain trees for several years."

Banrock Station is located off Sturt Highway at Kingston-on-Murray near Renmark. The flooding is providing spectacular views from the deck of Banrock Station's Wine and Wetland Centre, with a large expanse of water with islands of higher ground, and lots of healthy trees with a light green halo of new growth.

The boardwalk, which provides unprecedented public access to River Murray wetlands, is 30cm (1-ft) under water and is expected to be covered by over a metre of water by mid-February. However visitors can still use most of Banrock's walking trails and the Wine and Wetland Centre deck to get an up-close look at the wetland.

"Many birds are enjoying the shallow water and the good pickings to be had in areas which have not been inundated for many years," Ms Thorn said. "We have erected temporary bird-viewing screens and a platform to help visitors get closer to the wildlife."


INTERNATIONAL Rail has many rail access passes in Japan, the most popular being the National Japan Rail Pass which is available as seven, 14 or 21 consecutive day passes in either Green Class (First class) or Ordinary Class (Second class).

This JR rail pass gives you access to almost all types of travel around Japan including JR trains, Shinkansen "Bullet" trains, cities and rural local trains and JR ferry service in Miyama.

There are also special rail passes for certain regions in Japan such as the Japan East Pass, Japan West Kansai Pass or the Japan West Sanyo Pass- all have different lengths and periods in which to use them.

IR are offering travellers a bonus $25 duty free shopping voucher or a Roaming SIM card which carries discounted phone charges of up to 90% valued at about $50 with rail travel bookings which exceed $800.

Passes start from as little as $52 day.

For more details and to purchase this pass contact International Rail on 1300-387-245 or visit