Monday, 28 November 2011

Castlemaine Victoria - Cape York 4WD tour - Christmas Cruise - Morocco

28 Nov 11
John Crook

A dining experience like no other
A recent visit into the central Victorian city of Castlemaine gave me the chance to join locals at The Good Table.  This is one of the best restaurants I've included in my Central Victorian travels. Their six course tasting menu' is on offer at just $50 a head.  Beverages are additional. Each month Chef Alex Perry orders in local produce for his menu.   November for example included eggplant and zucchini flowers from Dragi, Diggers Rest; tomato and stone fruit from Uncle George Harcourt; Butter from the Myrtleford Butter Factory; goats cheese  from Holy Goat Organic Farm, Sutton Grange; and on the list goes.  December will have a different list of local inclusions, January ditto and so on. We chose our dishes from the menu. Prices are very reasonable. A true gourmet's experience. A return visit is guaranteed.  Lunch and dinner Thursday to Sunday.  Reservations (03) 5472 4400 or go visit

Cairns to Cape York
A 12-day Cape York and Cooktown in depth is planned for next year.  The price is from $5795 per person, twin share and that includes a $600 per couple saving for bookings made before February 29. The price includes guided touring in a custom-designed 24-passenger 4WD vehicle, accommodation, 26 meals, flights from Horn Island to Cairns, entrance fees, permits, transfers and cruises.  Highlights include Cairns, Kuranda, Cape Tribulation, the Daintree, the Bloomfield Track, Cooktown (one of my favourite Oz destinations), Weipa, Coen, the Gulf Country, Cape York and Thursday Island. One heck of a tour.  Get the facts by visiting, travel agents or call 1300 229 804.

Celebrate Next Christmas
The deal is a 12-night cruise from Sydney to Auckland aboard one of the largest and most spectacular super-liners ever to visit Australia.  Join the 122,000 tonne vessel in Sydney where the celebrations begin.  There are two nights post-cruise in Auckland's Stamford Plaza Hotel.  There's one-way travel from Auckland back to Sydney.  You really need to get all the details for what looks like one of the best value-for-money tours in 2012.  Full details from travel agents, or for detailed itineraries and the name of your nearest Cruiseco cruise-specialist travel agent go to

Snake charmers and fortune tellers
It has to be magical Morocco.  It is an eight-day package planned for those folk with limited time and on a budget.  It's amazing what one can cram into eight-days.  Morocco, Rabat, Marrakesh and Casablanca. Leave it to Temp Holidays and they have the answer.  A glance at their latest brochure will provide the answers.  The tour is priced from $737 per person twin share.  Conditions do apply, so telephone 1300 558 987 or go visit  The folk at Tempo have the answers.

* 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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Monday, 21 November 2011

Provence Tour - Moscow - Tempo 50% off -

John Crook
Top tour in Provence
She is at it again.  One of my best friends has just released a tour of Provence.  If perchance you have read one of her six books you need no prodding from me.  Ann Rickard is leading a two-week  tour of Provence in June of next year and again in 2013.  Her tours are have a base in an 18th century stone maison.  Excursions  to nearby towns include Avignon, Gordes and hill top villages  There are market tours, gala dinners, long luncheons, elementary French lessons, even cooking demonstrations.  I've known Ann and husband Geoffrey for some years and I know that there is always a queue of people making enquiries about the tours which the couple schedule on a semi-regular basis.   For more information, inclusions ad conditions go visit  or telephone the lady herself on 0408 557 311.  In a nutshell, these tours are like having a personal invitation to a two-week party in the south of France.   I could not thinking of a better French experience.  Folks!  It's party time !!
Two nights in Moscow, - and more
Explore Russia in style with two new river cruise packages which offer accommodation in fabulous hotels near famous attractions in Moscow and St Petersburg, and with six nights aboard the MS Volga Dream.   Also, included in the price tag, are most meals (served with house wine with lunch and dinner), lectures and daily sightseeing. For a full itinerary, conditions and terms just visit  or telephone  1800 221 712.
Benefit with a 50% discount
There's been a 50% discount on  the Tempo Holidays Wonders of Egypt package which combines Cairo and Alexandria with an eleven day journey into history. Discover 5000 years of history priced from just $3,500 per couple when booked by 30 November.  The price is inclusive of discount, based on two passengers travelling together and sharing a twin or double room.  It is valid for travel until September 21, 2012. Explore the Giza Pyramids, the Sphinx, the Egyptian Museum . All that, and more, before moving on the Catacombs, Pompey's Pillar and the El Alamein's World War 11 battlefields. International air travel is not included.
 Get the facts and the tour itinerary by visiting or telephone 1300 558 987.  There's so much more to this package, which is deserving of your interest and of course, discovery.
* 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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Monday, 14 November 2011

Newcastle - Dalmatia by Small Ship - Stonehenge - Spain

John Crook
Congratulations Newcastle
I 'discovered' the New South Wales city of Newcastle a couple of years ago.  I was knocked out by the attractiveness of a city which was once heavy industrial. Industry still plays a role in the lives of those who live here, but oh-how it has changed. Great buildings from another era, a bevy of restaurants ((on a par with some of Sydney's best). A range of tours and activities form part of an exciting slice of NSW.  Inner city wine tours, a Newcastle Ghosts' tour,  and did I mention restaurants ?  You bet I did !  Try this one.  Rustica on Hunter Street. This dining spot has great views of the ocean and its Mediterranean  menu which throws its doors open for those looking for a real treat.
Deluxe small ship cruising
Beyond Travel has just introduced a choice of cruising in Dalmatia and the eastern Mediterranean.  Among the new eight-day itineraries  for 2012 is a voyage on the mega yacht Harmony G, a modern vessel for up to 44 guests.  Check the itineraries which are available through Beyond Travel.  Telephone 1300 363 554 for the details.
A chance to do some back road touring
In my opinion, Back Roads Touring, is the answer for those folk looking to do some soft adventure touring.  This is real soft adventure, like touring aboard a Mercedes-Benz with 15 fellow travellers.  The back roads tour gets you into the Salisbury Plain, visiting Stonehenge, Salisbury and Windsor Castle.  In keeping with back roads touring, you get to stay in charming accommodation.  This is my style of soft-adventure touring.  A nice surprise awaits would-be travellers, being an early bird saving if booked and paid in full by December 15.  Call 1300 100 410.
Sit back and relax
This time around I'm spotlighting a group of tours which should satisfy those from 'down under' who want to get in touch with their mother lands.  Tempo coach tours  offer the best seats in the house (or should that be coach?) no matter what, it's a grand tour covering Spain, Italy and Turkey.
International flights are provided by Etihad.  There are savings on offer as well.  To ascertain how you can benefit, it's just a matter of ringing 1300 558 987.
* 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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Monday, 7 November 2011

Vietnam and Cambodia - Topdeck New Zealand - Norway - SeaDream Amazon

7 Nov 11


John Crook

A free deal
Travelmarvel is offering a fly-free deal from Australia, with a saving well worth pursuing.  Make contact with  or your travel agency, and receive details on the 12-day Essential Vietnam and Cambodia (just one example)m priced from $3495 per person, twin share. This includes eight-days cruising between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap.  If I were you, I would make a simple phone call, 1300 805 493. Conditions apply. To benefit, deposits need to be paid by March 31, 2012.

If you're young, this is for you!
Topdeck, the youth travel operator, is taking 20% off its Reverse New Zealand trips of ten days or more, when booked by November 30 2011. For instance, stay overnight in a traditional Maori marae, enjoy an overnight cruise on Milford Sound, hike the Fox Glacier and throw yourself off a bridge in Queenstown.   It's a 17-day Kiwi Encounter Reverse from Christchurch to Auckland from $1925, a saving of $480.    Check out the facts by calling 1300 886 332 or visit, or chat it over with your local travel agent.

 Explore Norway
Scenic landscapes featuring snow capped mountains and crystalline glaciers await. Royal Caribbean's Arctic Circe and Northern Lights cruise departs Amsterdam on June 6, 2012 from $4199.  The itinerary includes a couple of nights in Amsterdam  staying at the Holiday Inn, before boarding the four-star Brilliance of the Seas  to explore magnificent fjord  country, the beauty and wildlife of the Arctic Circle and the colourful Arctic city of Tromso.  Book before 12 November and receive a $200 voucher  for your next cruise. For all the details go visit or telephone 1800 331 506.

Too good to miss
Here is news of a cruise which embraces Chile, Colombia, the Caribbean and a boutique SeaDream 11 cruise up the Amazon River.  Business Class airfares ex Sydney  for two nights each  at Santiago, Bogota and colonial Zipaquira.  Then there is a two night stay in Barbados.  Five star, or best available accommodation.
Even an excursion to Machu Picchu aboard the luxury Orient Express.   All with organised sightseeing.  This has to be a trip of a life time. Best thing is to arrange a chat with those in the know. Go visit  Personally. I would be inclined to telephone the escorts of the package, namely  Martin and Auriel Wright, the founders of Far Horizons.  Ring 1800 083 141.  Please do yourself a favour and get a fully-detailed itinerary. Conditions apply.
Then let the journey begin !

* 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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