Monday, 27 August 2012

Thredbo - Falls Creek - SeaDream - explora Patagonia - Solar Eclipse

David Ellis


NSW's Thredbo Alpine Resort has a new Thredbo 365 Pass that gives visitors unlimited access to Thredbo for one whole year –  that's 52 weeks, 12 months, 4 seasons, 365 days.

It means guests can combine the magic, activity and sparkle of winter, with the crisp, fresh, action packed 5-star outdoors of summer.

This summer all its resort activities are covered – ride the famous Thredbo Downhill on a mountain bike or take on the new intermediate track, have a blast on the bobsled, take a trip on the chairlift, have a hit of golf, a game of tennis or play in the Thredbo Leisure Centre

In winter 2013, the Thredbo 365 pass will give visitors unlimited use of the mountain to ride when they like and as often as you like. And when the day is done they can head to the Thredbo Leisure Centre for a different style of apr├Ęs, all on one pass.

"To be offering one pass that for only $699 includes Thredbo's wide range of summer activities and full mountain access for the whole of next winter, is our way of ensuring that everyone can enjoy a value and action packed Australian alpine holiday in any season", said Thredbo General Manager, Jordan Rodgers.

The offer has a strictly limited sale period that wraps up 1 October 2012 and includes unlimited skiing and boarding during winter 2013, full access to the resort this summer, year- round access to the Thredbo Leisure Centre, 50m heated pool and waterslide, gym, squash court, tennis, 9 hole AGU rated golf course, access to the Thredbo Bobsled, unlimited summer tourist chairlift rides, unlimited chairlift access for mountain biking.

Price: Adults $699; Children $399.This is a strictly limited offer available for purchase until October 1, 2012 from the Thredbo eStore or Thredbo Lift Pass outlets; Thredbo 365 pass validity dates 2 October 2012 - 8 October 2013.


VICTORIA'S Falls Creek's Spring Pass is back for Spring 2012, with the price  $50 below what it was last year.

And although Spring is just days away, with the amount of snow that's fallen in the last week, skiing and boarding are both as good as they get right now.

The Falls Creek Spring Pass costs just $499 for adults and $299 for children, youths and seniors, and offers unlimited riding until season end. You only need to ski 5 days to get your money's worth, and with 5 weeks still left in the season there's plenty of riding to be done.

The Pass is valid for use from now until the last ride is called on the last chair in September.

For full details go to Pass


IF you've a week up your sleeve in Europe in October, the world's #1-rated boutique SeaDream II is sailing 7-nights from Civitavecchia, the port for Rome, to Elba, Corsica, the Italian Riviera, Monte Carlo and Nice with prices starting from a low US$3426pp twin-share – around a third of the originally brochured price.*

It includes all 5-star dining, drinks from the open bars, wines with lunch and dinner, nightly cocktail gatherings, a 30-course golf simulator, power and sail watersports (where permitted,) mountain bikes for shore excursions, onboard gratuities and port charges and taxes; SeaDream II carries on average 100 guests in just 56 staterooms served by 95 crew.

For full itinerary and other details see travel agents or

SeaDream II departs Civitavecchia on October 13 for Bonifacio on historic Corsica, Portoferraio on picturesque Elba in Italy's Tuscany region, Viareggio for Florence, Portovenere amid the serrated cliffs of the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera, Portofino also on the Italian Riviera, Monte Carlo for 24-hours and Nice.

*Originally brochured price was US$9327pp twin-share.


SOUTH American eco-adventure company explora is offering competitors in the upcoming inaugural "Patagonian International Marathon" special offers if they are staying at their Hotel Salto Chico on a four night package.

The only lodge in its class located at the heart of the National Park, named World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978, it is the perfect place to prepare before the race and relax and unwind after competing.

For travelers enrolled in the race, explora will offer a four night program with a complimentary room upgrade, a courtesy massage after the marathon, a transfer from the hotel to the starting point of the race in the park and the presence of an explora guide and van during the race.

Additionally, for people who chose to combine this program with a second explora property either in the Atacama Desert or in Easter Island, a complete upgrade and the benefits of the explora passport will be granted.

The race is being held on September 23 in Torres del Paine National Park, Chilean Patagonia, surrounded by glaciers, valleys, mountains and the most exuberant flora and fauna.

For further details visit


P&O Cruises is offering its passengers the chance to view a rare total solar eclipse this November 14th during cruises by Pacific Dawn off the north-east coast of Australia, and Pacific Jewel which will be cruising the Pacific Islands.

The cruise line will keep passengers informed with stellar documentaries on the ships' poolside Big Screens as well as lectures from some of Australia's best-known stargazers.

Brisbane, astronomy lecturer and member of the Queensland Astronomical Society, Peter Anderson will be onboard Pacific Dawn to share his lifetime study of solar eclipses, which he has viewed all around the world.

Fellow Queenslander Rodger MacQueen, who has been helping P&O Cruises' passengers understand the sky above for more than three years as well as working as an observational astronomy presenter with the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, will give talks on black holes, the Solar System and stellar evolution during Pacific Jewel's solar eclipse cruise.

The cruise line will provide eclipse shades allowing passengers to view the event safely.

Passengers onboard Pacific Dawn will be able to watch the eclipse from Port Douglas as part of a special seven-night cruise departing Brisbane on November 10 from $799* per person quad share.

Pacific Jewel will also offer a good vantage point during a 10-night Pacific Islands cruise departing Sydney on November 12, priced from $799* per person quad share.

The last total eclipse viewed from Australia occurred in 2002, while the next will not occur until 2028. For more information and bookings contact travel agents, P&O Cruises on 13 24 94 or visit

Swiss Parade - Hobart Walks - Sydney Fish Markets - APT Africa Deal - Noahs Ark Tour

John Crook

Bring back the herds to the valley
The summer season in Switzerland has commenced with a traditional parade marking the change of season and the return of herds to the valley.  This Swiss parade perpetuates an ancient tradition.  However, for the first time ever the public is welcome to tour the new cheese facility.  September 29 is the date to diarise details of the parade and cheese tasting. Go visit

Go take a walk
Hobart walks take visitors behind  the scenes of the capital's vibrant, diverse and dynamic arts community.  You can choose from four different guided walks to discover hidden studios,  galleries and the chance to meet emerging and established artists and gallery owners.   Best to do a check by visiting or telephone 0414 391 154.

Seafood basics
There's a basics class which includes a copy of the Sydney Seafood School, and that comes with the new Seafood Basics class. Also, just released is the September – February program of classes.  View the program of classes by visiting

Companions fly free (conditions of course)
There's a free flight deal on APT Africa holidays.  The deal works out to be of up to  $2040 per couple. The deal applies to all itineraries running through the May – September season.  Bookings must be made before December 31 2012. give this number a call, - 1300 229 804.
Just to whet the travel bug check this one out.   A 29 day South Africa Highlights which includes  15 nights in South Africa, two at Victoria Falls, 11-nights in Kenya.  Plenty more, so get the itinerary by visiting

Noah's Ark
The supposed resting place of Noah's Ark, the point where Cleopatra arrived in her gold and silver barge to meet Mark Anthony and heaps more history recreated in a cram packed cruise departing Muscat to Istanbul March 25 2013.  This is one of the most exciting cruise itineraries on offer. Prices start from $24,700.Ring or an itinerary 1800 08 3 141

* 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, 20 August 2012

South America - Leeton Wine - Dad's Day - Flying Pub Safari - Chelsea Flower Show

Travel Briefs

John Crook

South America and big race
There's a mighty race on September 23 with the participants surrounded by glaciers, mountains and fantastic flora and fauna.  Get with the strength and prepare for the event by visiting   Catch me if you can !   At least, go get the details and be ready to take part in  one of the world's best.

Leeton on the move
What  a surprise,  when I unscrewed the cap. Aromatic lychees and the taste of a wine which presented itself as a medium- dry white. Ingredients which, when poured after a hard day's work, is about the most welcoming drink around.  The wine is from Lillypilly Estate.  Keep an eye out for the estate's 2010 Tramillon.   When first presented  back in 1983, it took out Best NSW White Wine. Could also be a good decision, to include Leeton in your NSW travel plans.

Buy Dad a gift certificate
Then join him for a Seafood BBQ class in September or October and there's a saving of $115. You could be cooking Thai style Squid Salad, BBQ prawns, Blue Mussels,  BBQ garfish, and salmon,- including the appropriate marinades, butters and mayonnaise.  Conditions apply, so to get the appropriate package, telephone Sydney Seafood School (02) 9004 1111.

Goin' Off Safaris
Wait for me, this little package is too good to miss.  It's a safari with a twist,- a flying pub crawl through the outback. A three-day itinerary gets you into local watering holes and historic remote areas of South Australia.  These include the Flinders Ranges, Marree, Innaminka, Birdsville and plenty more. Go check the Goin' Off Safaris website for more info.

Chelsea Flower Show
Five and ten day tours are being booked for next year. is currently accepting bookings right now,- with early birders checking info sessions in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Geelong and Adelaide.  It is possible to reserve your package  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

Monday, 13 August 2012

Vienna Boys Choir - Japan Tour - Magic Mudgee

Travel Briefs
John Crook

Vienna Boys Choir for Queensland
One of the world's greatest choirs returns to Australia, with performances nationally. Queensland plays host to the choir from Sunday September 9th. Then to Maryborough on the 11th,  the Gold Coast on the 12th.  With Toowoomba welcoming the choir to the Downs on October 13th. For all the info go visit

Wendy Wu style
Japan is back in business
One of the real highlights is the trip aboard the Thunderbird Express.  Temples and Shrines, Mt Fuji, farmhouses, - an itinerary cram packed with daily highlights.  Get a copy of the complete itinerary.  To do that go visit or telephone 1300 727 998.

Mudgee is the magic word in wines
I first came across the wine growing region of Mudgee about 30 years ago.  I've been part of the territory  for a long time, following the progress of winemaking  Mudgee style for all those years.  The region surprises at each turn of the road.    It's time I returned. All because of a lovely drop from Eloquesta, - A Shiraz Petit Verdot 2009.  The wine is first class, and so too is the history which ranges from delightful villages to tales aplenty by Henry Lawson.  It is also home to the Loaded dog.  Ask the locals to show you the site of Lawson's brilliantly written story of a dog, a kerosene tin and two villains whose prank backfired.  Best told over a glass or two of that  Eloquesta Shiraz Petit Verdot  2009.

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

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

London Olympics - Theatre Organ - Pub Crawl - Odessa Opera House

Travel Briefs

London run down

It may be just a few stragglers bringing up the rear guard in the Olympic city with the Games schedule drawing to a close. The Scots believe that now is the time for them to make the move and switch the attention to Edinburgh and their long list of festivals. We are in festive mode right now and right now is the best time to see Edinburgh. At least that's my thinking. Can't do much about the weather but that should not deter. It is summer after all in the northern hemisphere. Google Edinburgh Festival and get set to include a few days on the festival hunt.

The mighty theatre organ

A master of the key board is visiting Australia this month with Jonas Nordwall displaying his prowess at the console of the theatre organ in the Kingston City Hall. Please do not go to the wrong Kingston. It appears that there is a Kingston in each state. The one you want is Kingston in Victoria. Use the phone for details. The concert is scheduled for Sunday August 18, with the sounds of the organ launching the concert at 2-00pm. Telephone (03) 9556 4440.

Pub Crawl- by air !

Goin' Off Safaris is the force behind the successful pub craw with a difference.

It offers the chance to check out some of the most exciting and memorable slices of South Australia. Innamincka is but one of those community's just waiting to extend a warm welcome. Birdsville, Lake Eyre the Flinders Ranges, William Creek – just a few of the many community's you will have the chance to meet and greet. Get the details by googling Goin' Off Safaris.

Small group touring

Far Horizons is a small-group fully escorted tour through the former Soviet Republics embracing such attractions as battlefields of the infamous 1894 Charge of the Light Brigade; the Palace in which the Big Three met at the Yalta Conference, just to mention a couple of the historical sites which offer access to those who have an interest in such matters. My advice is to make contact with Far Horizons. Telephone 1800 083 141, or contact This amazing tour includes historic hotels, through to the memorial and museum of the Nazi death camp near Vilnius. There's culture too. Such as that found in the Ukraine Odessa Opera House.

* 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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