Saturday, 25 October 2014

Australian Quick Bites - Travel Stories

Hotel Windsor voted as Australasia’s Leading Hotel
Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor has been named as Australasia’s Leading Hotel at the 21st annual World Travel Awards in Delhi, India. The hotel, which is known for its grand Victorian architecture, will also undergo a substantial AUD$330 million redevelopment to be completed in 2018.
Kambarang – South West Aboriginal Gourmet Experience
Renowned Chef Mark Olive and Josh Whiteland from Koomal Dreaming will be teaming up to present a feast of bush flavours to Kambarang, a South West Aboriginal Gourmet Experience. The event will be held on 21 November at Margaret River’s South West Institute of Technology.
AAT Kings new tour
AAT Kings has announced new tours for 2014 and 2015 including the Mornington Peninsula tour. The tour operates three times a week visiting Seawinds and the Enchanted Adventure Gardens, Flinders township and also includes a private foodie tour of Green Olive at Red Hill.
Avenue Hotel to open in Canberra
Capital Hotel Group has announced a new addition to the Canberra hotel market. The five star Avenue Hotel is a 213 room property located on Northbourne Avenue with guests due to check in from 3 November. The hotel’s signature restaurant will be Marble and Grain, a European steakhouse.
Adelaide Festival unveils program
The program for Adelaide Festival 2015 has just been released. On the bill are 22 premieres and 26 exclusive events with theatre, music, dance, visual arts and a writer’s week. The stellar music line-up is headed up by Scottish rock band, Mogwai.
New tours for Hydeaway Bay
Hydeaway Bay is one of the Whitsundays’ best kept secret and now visitors can jump on a new bus tour with Airlie Limos to explore this hidden gem. Hydeaway Bay is situated 45min from Airlie Beach and is famous for its secluded beaches, lush green hills, and its magnificent views.
Spicers Hidden Vale reveals Homage Restaurant
Spicers Retreats announced the launch of Homage Restaurant at Spicers Hidden Vale. Headed up by one of Australia's best Regional Chefs, Ash Martin, Ash and his teams expertly craft dishes that pay homage to the land, the produce and local farmers.
Pizzaperta to open at The Star Sydney
Following the success of Osteria Balla at The Star, Stefano Manfredi and restaurateur, Julie Manfredi Hughes are adding to the world class cuisine at The Star Sydney with the opening of their Italianate pizzeria and bar, Pizzaperta on 20 November.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Africa Cruise - Germany tour - Extreme bike tours - Palaces of Rome - Sail Amsterdam - Melbourne Staycation

Aurora Expeditions’ 2015-2016 Expedition Guide features for the first time journeys across all seven continents.
It contains, for instance, a new 15-day ‘African Cruise Safari’ to some of the most concentrated wildlife regions of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana.
Highlights include a four-day cruise on the Chobe River on board Zambezi Queen, with game viewing from special excursion crafts, as well as nights in traditional safari lodges and game drives through Chobe and Hwange National Parks.
Prices start at $7990 per person twin-share.
Phone 02 9252 1033 or visit


Lose yourself on Germany’s Romantic Road with Back-Roads Touring’s 11-day journey from Frankfurt to Vienna.
The itinerary includes the idyllic, terraced vineyards of the Wachau valley, tours through some of Europe’s most beautiful castles, and the architectural dream of Rothenberg, with its twisting cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses.
You will also discover sweeping views of the Wipptal Valley at Munich and be enchanted by Mondsee, one of the prettiest towns in Austria.
Prices start at $4745.25 per person twin-share, including a 5 per cent earlybird saving if booked by December 14 for departures April-October next year.
Phone 1300 100 410 or visit


Get two free nights at India’s Taj Lake Palace and free return flights from Delhi to Udaipur when you book with Extreme Bike Tours on four Himalayan motorcycle tours that will take licensed riders and pillion passengers along some of the world’s highest roads.
The offer is available until December 1 on 15-day ‘Mighty Himalayas’ tours departing Delhi on June 20, July 7 and 24 and August 10 next year.
A stay in the lavish Taj Lake Palace will provide riders and pillions a luxurious ending to an adventure which will see them spend nights amongst the world’s loftiest peaks in tents, rustic guesthouses and hotels along the road.
The 1300-kilometre journey will be undertaken on classic Enfield Bullet 500 motorbikes and is priced from US$4750 per rider or US$3950 for pillion passengers sitting behind crew or in the support vehicle.


Luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent is confident enough in the Egyptian situation to resume tours to the country.
To kick off its return, A&K has launched an eight-day ‘Glimpse of Egypt’ journey, with attractions including highlights of Cairo and a four-night Nile cruise aboard Sanctuary Sun Boat IV, taking in the ancient temples, tombs and riverside life between Luxor and Aswan.
Travel before December 31 and pay $3830 per person twin-share, saving $1660 per couple.
Phone 1300 590 317 or visit


Latest luxury accommodation offering in the Blue Mountains is the totally refurbished and historic Parklands Country Gardens & Lodge at Blackheath.
Set on a 28-acre heritage property adjoining the Greater Blue Mountains World, Parklands is reminiscent of a grand European estate and sits on 28 acres of manicured grounds overlooking lush gardens lined with old pines, cypresses and Japanese maples planted more than 100 years ago.
Opening rates start from $269 per room midweek and $399 on weekends. Book two nights or more and get a 20 per cent discount.
Phone 02 4787 7211 or visit


Peter Sommer Travels’ 2015 program including its first dedicated adventure amid the ruins and palaces of Rome.
Archaeologists Paul Beston and Dr Michael Metcalfe will lead the eight-day encounter with the Eternal City, taking travellers on a journey from Rome’s humble beginnings as a small settlement on the River Tiber through its rise to an imperial power controlling the entire Mediterranean.
Highlights include the Roman Forum, the port of Ostia and Hadrian’s Palace at Tivoli.
Prices start at approximately $5330 per person twin-share.


Cruise Express is offering the chance next August to join the world’s largest nautical event, the once-every-five-years Sail Amsterdam, on board one of the world’s biggest sailing ships, the 162-metre Wind Surf.
Its 16-night package is priced from $7999 per person twin-share, including return flights from Australia to Oslo, three nights accommodation in the Norwegian capital, an eight-night voyage aboard the 310-passenger Wind Surf from Oslo to Dover, and three nights in London.
Ports of call include Kristiansand in southern Norway, Amsterdam, and the Belgian ports of Vlissingen and Zeebrugge.
Phone 1300 764 509 or visit


Wendy Wu Tours has expanded its product range in Indochina to include a fully inclusive tour that focuses on Laos and Cambodia.
The 16-day ‘Laos & Cambodia Unveiled’ itinerary next year will encompass in-depth aspects in areas not found in a traditional mainstream group tours to this region.
It is priced from $5160 per person twin-share, including return airfares, with highlights such as the vibrant Laotian capital of Vientiane, Vang Vieng, UNESCO world-heritage-listed Luang Prabang, Siem Reap and the famous temples of Angkor, Battambang, Kampong Chnang, Udong and Phnom Penh.
Phone 1300 727 998 or visit

Sheikh Zayed Mosque in United Arab Emirates Abu Dhabi

Fly to Europe and take a break in Abu Dhabi with Creative Holidays and Virgin Australia.
Pay, for instance, from $1895 per person twin-share ex Sydney or Perth, including return flights to Europe and three nights at Abu Dhabi’s Centro Yas Island Rotana.
Includes breakfast daily and a city tour.
Book by October 31 for travel February 1 to March 25.
Phone 1300 301 711 or visit


Get an early taste of the warmer weather with a ‘Spring into Summer’ deal at Melbourne’s Adina Apartment Hotel South Yarra.
Pay from $145 per night for a one-bedroom apartment.
Includes a complimentary bottle of wine, free parking and late check-out.
Book and stay before November 30.
Phone 13 8642 or visit


Celebrate a special anniversary or enjoy a second honeymoon at the 4.5-star Seahaven Noosa, one of the Sunshine Coast’s premier beachfront resorts.
Pay from $1599 for three nights in a one-bedroom rooftop penthouse, including a hamper with wine, cheese and chocolates, and noon checkout.
Features direct beach access to Laguna Bay.
Phone 07 5447 3422 or visit


Celebrate Sofitel’s 50th anniversary worldwide with a champagne-and-oysters package at Sofitel Gold Coast Broadbeach.
Pay from $650 per couple per night, including accommodation in a Luxury Ocean Spa room, valet parking, breakfast and a champagne-and-oysters dinner in Sofitel’s restaurant, Room 81.
Features lobby exhibition of Iconic Paris, evocative images of Paris by Jon Rendell.
On sale until October 31 for stays until November 9.
Phone 1800 074 465 or visit

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Australian Quick Bites - Pei Modern - Craft Beer Week - Food Safari - New Look Watermark - Bluesfest

Pei Modern opens in Sydney
Pei Modern is now open at Four Seasons Hotel Sydney. Pei Modern is headed up by Matt Germanchis, who has worked alongside Mark Best at Pei Modern in Melbourne and is joined by restaurant manager Tara Sullivan as well as award-winning sommelier Annette Lacey.
Sydney Craft Beer Week
Sydney Craft Beer Week begins this Friday, 17 October. The event runs for nine days and features over 100 events including various beer experiences such as beergustations, beer high teas and the chance to sample beers from all over Australia and the world.
Sacred Earth Safaris new tour
Sacred Earth Safaris have introduced an exciting new adventure through the remote South Australian outback. The 10 day Legendary Outback Tracks 4WD Safari is for those who wish to combine cultural Indigenous and European history with landscapes and native wildlife.
Food Safari hits Perth's streets
Leederville Food Safari is a food adventure that takes guests on a three hour culinary journey. The tour begins at Ria Malay Kitchen for entrées and drinks, a rickshaw then escorts guests to Kitsch Bar Asia for the main event, and finally to Foam Coffee Bar for sweet delights.
New look Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast
This summer, the Watermark Hotel & Spa Gold Coast will transform with the addition of a multimillion dollar, architecturally inspired precinct. The hotel is set to make an impact on the Gold Coast with its design innovation and dining experience.
2014 Tissot Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix
The 2014 Tissot Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix starts this weekend on 17–19 October at Phillip Island, Victoria. Jack Miller and Dani Pedrosa took their motorcycles for a spin along the banks of Melbourne’s iconic Yarra River yesterday. Watch the video here.
Second Bluesfest announcement
Bluesfest has just released its second lineup announcement that includes Ben Harper and The Innocent Criminals, Paolo Nutini, David Gray, Ben Howard, Counting Crows, Jimmy Cliff and Sheppard joining the bill. The festival will be held at Byron Bay from 2-6 April 2015.
Mystery Box Rally
Starting on 22 August 2015 in Townsville and 28 November 2015 in Sydney, Mystery Box Rally is for those that crave adventure as you take to the roads with your route shrouded in mystery. 75 cars take part in each rally over 5 days. The only obligation is raising much-needed funds for cancer research.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Danube Cruise - 4WD Safari - Turkey - Mantra Brisbane - Ambassador Hotel Waikiki - Frankfurt

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Nature lovers can now bring their tents and swags to a new camping ground next to the platypus-viewing area at Broken River in Eungella National Park, 80 kilometres west of Mackay.
The new grounds include 10 bush camping sites suitable for family-sized groups and two campsites to accommodate larger groups and vehicles.
Rates are $5.75 per person per night or $23 per family group per night. Bookings are essential.

Take an eight-day Travelmarvel ‘Delightful Danube’ river cruise sailing between Budapest and Vilshofen on April 20 or 27 and you’ll pay $1995 per person twin-share if you book by November 30, saving $1500 per person.
Cruise highlights include a private ‘Oktoberfest’ with the locals in Vilshofen; the chance to explore Vienna; a guided tour of Melk Abbey; and a traditional Slovak folklore demonstration in Bratislava.
Phone 1300 196 420 or visit

Sacred Earth Safaris if offering a small-group 4WD safari through the South Australian outback.
Its 10-day Legendary Outback Tracks combines cultural Indigenous and European history with stunning landscapes and native wildlife in iconic locations such as Cooper Pedy, Lake Eyre, Innamincka and the Flinders Ranges.

Brisbane’s new Mantra on Edward is a fully serviced apartment hotel that boasts some of the city’s largest rooms, due to its original design as the residential Observatory Tower.
Rates start from $189 per night for a one-bedroom apartment.
Facilities include balconies with city views, a large lap pool that overlooks the streetscape below, a fully equipped gymnasium, spa and sauna.
Turkey; Istanbul; Topkapi Palace

Abercrombie & Kent has launched a new, hosted small-group journey in November next year to Turkey, led by Kenneth Park, an accomplished curator, lecturer and arts consultant.
Major highlights include the important attractions of western and central Turkey, from Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace to the rock-cut churches of Cappadocia and the extraordinary exhibits of Ankara’s Museum of Anatolian Civilisations.
Prices start at $9695 per person twin-share.
Phone 1300 590 317 or visit

Stay at the Ambassador Hotel Waikiki, in Honolulu, before December 3 and pay from $130 per room per night, a saving of up to 35 per cent.
It’s just a short stroll from one of the world’s most famous beaches, and features include an outdoor swimming pool, full kitchenette, flat-screen TV and free wifi.
Phone 1800 687 236 or visit

Worldwide Cruise Centres 54-day ‘Tahitian Palms and Hawaiian Charms’ next April combines three ocean voyages so that guests can travel to and from Sydney without any flights.
The itinerary begins with a Radiance of the Seas cruise to Hawaii, followed by a Pride of America cruise around Hawaii and a Legend of the Seas cruise back to Australia.
Prices start at $7699 (valid till end of November), including 10 nights in Honolulu.

Walking Tasmania’s iconic Wineglass Bay is one thing, but retiring at night to the exclusive 23-metre luxury yacht Lady Eugenie makes it quite a different journey.
The Tasmania Walking Co is offering a new Wineglass Bay Sail Walk over four or six days, with luxuriously sleeping and eating on board while exploring the bay, Maria Island and Tasman Island.
Prices start at $2990 per person twin-share.

Save up to 15 per cent with Auto Europe car and motorhome rentals in the UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain and Switzerland next year.
Other earlybird enticements include free ferry crossings from Dover and Calais return, free European insurance cover, and free GPS.
Book by February 28 for vehicle collection between April 1 next year and March 31 2016.
Phone 1300 656 601 or visit

Get package deal through Direct Flights to historic Frankfurt, Germany’s financial centre.
Pay from $2250 per person twin-share ($2233 ex Melbourne, $2239 ex Adelaide, $2232 ex Perth, $2251 ex Brisbane, $2244 ex Darwin), including flights with Singapore Airlines and five nights in the three-star Holiday Inn Express.
Includes a daylong castle tour which takes in spectacular Heidelberg Castle.
Book by November 17 for travel June 8 to September 30 next year.
Phone 1300 234 909 or visit

Save up to 25 per cent with an earlybird booking for an apartment in Japan’s Niseko skifields.
Pay, for instance, from $688 per person quad-share at Yotei Cottage (one bedroom plus loft), including six-day, all-mountain lift passes, return airport transfers and airport meet-and-greet.
Get free equipment rental for kids aged 2-14 when each parent rents skis or snowboard.
Book by October 30 for travel December 1-12 and March 1 to April 24.
Phone 1300 137 411 or visit

Save nearly $6000 per person with and experience Quantum of the Seas, the latest addition to the Royal Caribbean fleet.
Pay from $9599 per person twin-share, instead of $15,459 for a 30-night cruise from Barcelona to Singapore.
Onboard attractions include the North Star, a jewel-shaped capsule which ascends more than 300 feet above sea level and offers 360-degree views of the ocean.
Book by December 2 for a May 10 sailing.
Phone 1300 369 848 or visit

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Luxury India Tours - Hungary - Archaeological tour - Travelling with Children - Blue Mountains - more

Turbaned Chauffeur at Maharani Bagh Orchard
Retreat. Image: Tony Sernack.

New Australian tour company, Nomads Secrets, aims to take small groups of travellers beneath the skin of exotic cultures by combining the finest hotels and eco-resorts with guidance from world-leading experts in culture, photography, food, wildlife, festivals, and history.
Its 17-day exploration of Rajasthan this October, for instance, will be led by New York Times photographer Tony Sernack and will include the ancient Bateshwar Fair.
Prices start at $14,869 per person twin-share.

Hotel Boscolo New York Palace ... five-star
luxury in the heart of Budapest.

Beyond Travel
is offering a wellness-spa package at one of the most opulent and elegant hotels in Hungary - the five star Hotel Boscolo New York Palace, located in the heart of Budapest on Grand Boulevard.
The three-night holiday is priced from $600 per person twin-share, including unlimited use of the hotel's spa facilities, an essential-oil massage, facial massage, daily buffet breakfast, return airport transfers and local taxes.
Phone 1300 363 554 or visit

Archaeological tour specialist Peter Sommer Travels will explore some of the most remarkable ancient sites of the Mediterranean this September during a series of four eight-day yacht expeditions in Turkey.
Each expedition will cater to no more than 16 guests, travelling along Turkey's south-west coast and hosted by expert guides with academic backgrounds in history, art and archaeology.
Cost is £2125 per person twin-share (approximately $3870). Visit

When Ingrid and Paul Sanders became tired of negotiating their way through the minefield of
Baby & Toddler Travel Co ... taking the worry
out of travelling with young children.

travelling with kids, they took things into their own hands. The result is the Baby & Toddler Travel Co, which specialises in organising travel for people accompanied by ankle biters.
They've kicked the business off with packages to Bali - each one including such things as a child-friendly villa, access to a nanny, high chair, cot, car seat, fast track through airport and a specially fitted pool fence.
A five-night package in a three-bedroom villa in Canggu, for instance is priced from $1995, including breakfast daily and complimentary wifi.

P&O Cruises has expanded its child-free Oasis retreats across two decks on each of its ships.
Adults only ... the child-free Oasis
retreat on Pacific Jewel.

Holidaymakers can chill out on new pod-style lounges for two, as well as plenty of cushioned lounges and sun beds.
Situated at the rear of Pacific Jewel, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Dawn, the Oasis retreats also feature a bar. Pacific Pearl also offers two whirlpool spas.

Before you throw a lazy grand or two at the internet renting a place, sight unseen, for your next holiday, it may well be worth throwing $55 to the Go To Guys to see if it really has those splendid water views and a working jaccuzi.
Garry Harding and Greg Rawlinson have set up an Australia-wide network of 350 inspectors who will take photos and check if what you're really getting measures up to the hype.
And they can also check on prospective real-estate investments and even that blind date you're considering.

The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Centre, located at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah, will be given a $100,000 upgrade.
The Exhibition Centre opened in 2010 with the aim of providing information on, and communicating
Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah ...
due for a $100,000 upgrade.

the values of, the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. It provides interpretation on the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area to encourage respect for and protection of this special environment. The plan focuses on interpreting the northern Blue Mountains, the route known as the Botanists Way as it was first crossed by botanist George Caley, and on showcasing the world class canyons in the area, such as nearby Claustral Canyon, within the context of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The upgrade is expected to be completed by 2015.
The Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area covers 1.03 million hectares and includes seven national parks and outstanding examples of ecological processes, natural habitats and cultural associations. It is home to primitive species with Gondwanan affinities, including the Wollemi pine, and is a centre of the diversification of eucalypts. Phone 02 4567 3000 or visit

JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa is offering a 'First Class Family Getaway' package priced from
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa ...
first-class family getaway.

$158 per room per night, including accommodation in a garden-view room for two adults and two children under 12. Also included are complimentary daily breakfast, free dining for kids with two paying adults and access to the kids' pavilion.

Save 15 per cent on all room types at Broome's boutique Pinctada Cable Beach Resort.
Pay, for instance, from $239 per night for a Shinju Studio room September-October, from $187 per night from November.
Also receive 10 per cent discount on pre-booked transfers and spa treatments at the Pinctada Spa, including the Kodo Massage, which is inspired by traditional Aboriginal techniques. Available until further notice. Phone 1800 746 282 or visit

The Great Wall ... a must-see on
any Chinese itinerary.

Save up to $1000 per couple on select Helen Wong's Tours' group excursions to China later this year.
Pay, for instance, from $3480 per person twin-share ex Shanghai for the 14-day 'Yangtze Wonders' itinerary.
Includes a cruise on the Yangtze, visits to Shanghai and Beijing, including the Great Wall, and to the home of the Terracotta Warriors, Xian.
Book by August 8.
Phone 1300 788 328 or visit

Absolutely treat yourself and save 65 per cent on a Garden Terrace Suite at Bali's Semara Luxury
'It's All About Me' package.

Semara Luxury Villa Resort Uluwatu ...
join Bali's A-listers.
Villa Resort Uluwatu. Pay US$419 per couple per night, including butler service, private chef, airport transfers, daily car service with driver, 20-minute spa treatment, free Wi-Fi, Semara gift pack, daily entry to Finns Beach Club plus free gym, tennis and use of the putting green.
Retreat offers a helipad, private beach, two tennis courts, putting green, fully equipped gym, pampering spa.
Until August 31.

Save an extra $200 off already discounted rates at Solar Springs health retreat in the Southern Highlands at Bundanoon.
Pay from $920 per person twin-share for a five-night
Includes all meals and activities, plus an 85-minute Solar Serenity Facial, pedicure and a one-hour massage of your choice (Swedish, remedial, shiatsu, lymphatic drainage or reflexology). Available until August 4. Phone 1800 044 944 or visit

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Shakespeare - Titanic Belfast - Baltic Tour - Morocco - Kimberley Holiday - MSC Cruise - St Patricks Day Dublin - Beijing - India - Fiji

They’ll be celebrating William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday all year in his Warwickshire hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, but especially keenly during March and April.

Outdoor Travel is offering a particularly rustic way to join the festivities — aboard a self-skippered traditional narrowboat on the Stratford Canal and River Avon.

Rates start from £549 for seven nights on a two-berth vessel out of Alvechurch Marina, which is easily reached from Birmingham Airport or International Railway Station.



CIE Tours describes its new eight-day Celtic Sampler fully escorted coach tour as an ideal introduction for first-time travellers to Ireland and Britain.

Highlights include Dublin, Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway on Ireland’s east coast, Edinburgh, the gentle scenery of the Borders country, the Lake District, Liverpool, and a drive across north Wales taking in the medieval town of Conwy with its huge castle.

Prices start at $1765 per person twin-share ex Dublin.


Melbourne radio personality Mike Brady — probably best known as the creator of Up There Cazaly — will help lead an 18-day self-drive European tour in July using brand-new leased globalCARS’ Citroens.

Travel will be from Munich to Berlin— via Prague, Warsaw, Vilnius, Tallinn, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Stockholm and Copenhagen, with many options of extending at the end of the formal arrangements.

The price of from $9250 per person twin-share includes vehicle lease with unlimited kilometres, four-or-five-star accommodation with most meals, ferry fees across the Baltic Sea, return rail tickets between Helsinki and St Petersburg and a fully-programmed GPS in each vehicle.

The trip into Russia does not involve driving. Cars remain in Helsinki while travellers travel by rail for three days to explore St Petersburg and return to Finland by rail to Turku before catching an overnight ferry to Stockholm.

Phone 1300 789 992 or visit

Wander amidst snake charmers and street performers in Marrakech as you journey deep into Morocco’s cultural heartland with the 18-day Oh-So-Moorish package from Gypsian Tours.

Make like Lawrence of Arabia as you ride the sands of the mighty Sahara atop camels and sample the myriad delights of the Moroccan kitchen.

Book before March and receive a free half-day cooking class in Morocco.

Prices are from $6537 per person twin-share for the trip which Casablanca on May 6.

Phone 07 3372 4833 or visit

Broome and The Kimberley Holidays has condensed the region’s main attractions into a seven-night package that includes must-sees such as El Questro Wilderness Park, a Lake Argyle and Bungle Bungles air safari, a guided tour of Willie Creek Pearl Farm and sunset dinner at Cable Beach.

The Distinctly Kimberley Icons package is priced from $3199 per person twin share ex Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane ($2699 ex Perth), including three nights accommodation in each of Emma Gorge Resort and Cable Beach Club Resort.

Phone 1300 357 057 or visit

MSC Cruise’s 28-night Glacier & Mediterranean Magic itinerary is based on a four-week voyage from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean port of Genoa on board MSC Poesia.

Ports of call include Bergen, Stockholm, St Petersburg, Hellesylt, Flaam, Tallinn, Warnemunde (for Berlin), Copenhagen, Zeebrugge, La Coruna, Lisbon, Gibraltar, Barcelona and Marseille.

Prices are from $7041 per person twin-share ex Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, including accommodation for one night in Hamburg.

Phone 1300 028502 or visit

If you’re heading to Europe next month, consider taking in the St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin from March 14-17, when the Irish capital comes alive with parades, music and plenty of ‘craic’.

Tempo Holidays is offering a three-night package that includes breakfast daily, airport transfers, a hop-on/hop-off sightseeing bus pass allowing you to discover more than 20 attractions at your own pace, and entry to the Guinness Storehouse.

Prices start at $673 per person twin-share. Phone 1300 558 987 or visit

Backyard Travel has introduced a very different two-day package to Xi’an, one of China’s oldest cities and home of the fabled Terracotta Army.

The tour costs from $US640 per person twin-share and includes accommodation in a traditional Wang cave dwelling and an evening meal there with the occupying family.

Transport is by sidecar attached to a vintage motorcycle and 1960s jeep. Other highlights include visiting a nearby vineyard, a local blacksmith and an artist district modelled on Beijing’s famous 789 precinct. 644$US per person based on a group of two


Book now for earlybird Queenstown ski-season accommodation deals at Oaks Shores and Oaks Club Resort.

Pay from $139 per night for a hotel-style room or from $264 per night for a two-bedroom apartment, minimum two-night stay.

Features waterfront location, lake access, barbecue facilities, sauna, fully equipped gym, complimentary shuttle bus service to Queenstown’s city centre, and world-class ski fields within close proximity,

Book and travel before June 27. Visit


Escape high-season tariffs with a Rumba Relaxo deal at Rumba Beach Resort, on the Sunshine Coast at Caloundra.

Pay from $597 per couple for three nights in spa suite.

Includes credit of $50 at the resort’s Drift restaurant, morning smooth-water cruise for two, full-day bicycle hire, and a complimentary in-house movie.

Until April 17, including school and public holidays. Phone 07 5492 0555 or visit

Attention all lawn bowlers. Drift your bias towards Nadi in May for the sixth Sunny West Bowling Carnival and get some special deals at Fiji’s Sonaisali Island Resort.

Pay from $1949 per person twin-share ex Sydney ($1849 ex Brisbane, $2049 ex Melbourne), including seven nights at Sonaisali.

Features breakfast daily; entry into the six-day tournament featuring Lovo, cocktail and prize-giving evenings. Visit or Carnival runs May 24-29.

Save up to $1955 per couple with Travelmarvel’s companion-fly-free deal on nine-to-21-day holidays to India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Pay, for instance, from $5495 per person twin-share for the 15-day Colours of India itinerary, including international airfares, flights and rail travel within India, and an eight-day Lower Ganges River cruise.

Highlights include exploring the narrow lanes of Old Delhi via rickshaw, enjoying a Bollywood Show, and visiting the iconic Taj Mahal and the pink city of Jaipur.

Book by June 30.

Phone 1300 196 420 or visit

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Travellers Good Buys

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Nordic sagas named it ‘tears of the sea’, Roman mythology referred to ‘petrified sun dreams’ and early European scribes wrote about ‘gold of the north’ or ‘Baltic gold’.

All were referring to amber, the petrified resin of primeval pine trees.

You can indulge yourself in an amber jewellery shopping spree on Toursgallery’s 25-day Baltic States and Poland Tour in July.

It takes in the Polish city of Gdansk, where guests can visit artisans making fine jewellery from rough local amber — with rings, pendants, brooches and necklaces at bargain prices.

As far back as the 10th century, Gdansk was one of the cities located on the Amber Route, along which amber was transported from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean.
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Tour prices start at $8950 per person twin-share.

Phone 1300 307 317 or visit

Get right off the regular tourist beat at Anantara Bazaruto Island Resort & Spa — located about 30 kilometres east of mainland Mozambique on the Bazaruto Archipelago, an area filled with protected national park islands about a 15-minute flight from Vilanculos Airport.

The resort offers a boutique collection of 44 villas with garden and shoreline panoramas, and made from indigenous reed, soft fringed thatch and wood.
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Guests can also tour the island by 4×4 to discover other pristine bays, exotic flora and fauna, local life and a 19th-century lighthouse. Renowned as one of the world’s top snorkelling, diving and fishing destinations, the Bazaruto Archipelago boasts year round warm waters, dazzling soft coral ridges and thousands of tropical fish species.


The growing popularity of self-guided cycling holidays has led Cycle Tours Global — an online hub for over 5500 bike tours in 112 countries — to list a new self-guided bike trip in the beautiful Dordogne Valley in France.

The new nine-day tour is available between April and October, with an itinerary that showcases the charm of one of the most picturesque regions of France, with riders pedalling through medieval villages unchanged by centuries, past grand chateaux and also street markets where they can collect local produce for a picnic along the route.
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The tour is available from €1490 per person twin-share, including accommodation in boutique hotels for eight nights, breakfast daily, bike hire, daily luggage transfers between hotels, detailed maps and route descriptions, local support if needed and a meet and greet at the start of the tour.


Pack a comfortable pair of walking shoes when visiting Macau and take advantage of the tourist office’s new series of self-guided walks that take you off the former Portuguese enclave’s main tourist map.
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All routes meander through the historic Macau peninsula where 25 Unesco World Heritage sites are found, including the iconic Ruins of St Pauls, a much photographed surviving façade of a 17-century church destroyed by fire in 1835.

Phone (02) 9264 1488 or visit for details.

If you need another excuse to take in the scenery, hospitality and exceptional food and wine of the NSW Central West, it could be provided on March 15-16 by the annual Millamolong Polo Carnival, one of Australia’s major events in the sport.
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The venue at Mandurama has the feel of a classy picnic race meet and there will be plenty of ancillary events between the fiercely competitive polo matches, plus a party on the Saturday night.


Cox & Kings has added more 2014 departure dates to a popular eight-day small-group journey exploring Russia’s rich cultural and historical heritage.

Classic Russia takes in the main attractions of Moscow and St Petersburg, with accommodation in centrally located 4.5-star hotels.
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Prices start at $2493 per person twin-share and there are 29 departures between March and November, including dates which coincide with St Petersburg’s White Nights festival — a month-long cultural celebration in June.

Phone 1300 836 764 or visit

The pristine beaches and hinterland of the Illawarra on the NSW South Coast can now be explored using aboard Segway personal transporters.

Segway Tours South Coast is offering eco-adventure tours for individuals, families and groups in Killalea State Park, near Shellharbour, with all riders receiving a 10 per cent discount on accommodation at the 4.5-star Sebel Harbourside Kiama.

Tours from 30 to 90 minutes are available at beautiful Killalea State Park, 90 minutes south of Sydney, between Shellharbour and Kiama.
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Tours run on weekends and during school holidays and are available from $39.

Phone 0402 000 222 or visit

Worldwide Cruise Centres’ 27-day Great Wall to Walls of Ice itinerary is built around a six-day cruise around Japan and a trans-Pacific voyage to Alaska and Vancouver on Holland America Line’s MS Volendam.

Also included are four nights in Beijing, plus two nights in Vancouver and an exhilarating two-day Canadian trip, with a night at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler alpine resort on the way.
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Prices start at $4999 ex Australia, with departure on April 9.


Get a three-night package in Auckland from Travelscene American Express.

Pay from $199 per person twin-share, including three nights at the Park Regis Hotel.

Includes return transfers from the airport to your hotel; Auckland Explorer hop-on/hop-off bus ticket.

Book by April 30 for travel May 1 to September 30.
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Phone 13 13 98 or visit

Sail seven nights but pay for only four on the 120-passenger MV Reef Endeavour with Captain Cook Cruises Fiji.

Prices start from $1560 per person twin-share for the seven-night Yasawa Island and Northern Discovery cruises, instead of the normal $2900.

Discover the pristine beaches, turquoise waters and remote villages, churches and schools of the real and untouched Fiji

For sale until March 31, 2014, and valid for travel from April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015.
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Phone 1300 863 454 or visit

Save more than $3300 per person on an 54-day itinerary from London to San Diego on board Celebrity Infinity.

Pay from $7689 per person twin-share, including return airfares.

Includes 49-night cruise plus two nights accommodation at the St Ermins Hotel in London and three nights at the Marriott in in San Diego.

Departs England on October 1.
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Phone 1300 369 848 or visit

Enjoy school-holiday specials at Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast.

Pay from $174 per night for two adults and up to two children aged to 15 years.

Facilities include putt-putt golf, beach volleyball, beach cricket, stand-up paddle boards, catamarans, kayaks, water trampoline and new bikes for hire.

Valid until January 26.

Phone 1800 072 277 or visit