Travel deals: 29 April 2012


AUSTRALIA

$ TAS
Now’s the time to nip down to Tassie before winter sets in, so you can rug up with all your chic woollies while you shop Hobart’s Salamanca Markets and snack on Tassie’s famed scallop pies from the harbour’s food vans. Stay at the Hobart Mercure from $123 a night and get a $50 voucher to spend at the hotel’s restaurants and bars – perhaps raid the Les Grand Vins wine list, which features the island’s top wines. Book seven days in advance, accorhotels.com/dine

$$ VIC
An hour from Melbourne and you’re deep in the Yarra Valley, with its wineries, golf clubs and Yering beach. Stay three nights at Yering Gorge Cottages and get a free brekky basket each morning, which will give you the energy to hit the cellar doors close by, including Domaine Chandon and Yering Station winery. Book by 14 May, travel until 31 August. Costs from $391 a person, twin share, qantas.com.au/victoria
 
$$$ QLD
Just 90km from Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast, Caloundra is home to the Australia Zoo and the Ettamogah Pub, not to mention some pretty mean surf and swimming beaches. The five-star Rumba Beach Resort, on Bulcock Beach, gets rave reviews on Trip Advisor. It’s offering one free night when you book a four-night stay, with a bottle of wine, bike hire and restaurant discount. Costs from $660 for four nights, rumbaresort.com.au

$$$$ NSW
You may be staying in the middle of the Hunter Valley, with all its temptations for fabulous food and divine wine, but it’s all about you and your health when you stay at the Golden Door – Elysia. Some may say life’s too short for no salt, caffeine or alcohol, others say life is about early morning tai chi, country walks, and truly beautiful, healthful food.  Book the health retreat’s seven day program and pay for the price of five before 31 May. Normally $3700, pay $2840 a person, elysia.com.au

$$$$ WA

High up on the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, the newest address in the Kimberley is the Berkeley River. Accessible only by sea plane, an hour from the nearest town, Wyndham, do not expect your phone to work. The hotel opened on April 13, and its chalets feature 180 views. Opening specials save up to $90 per night, includes all meals, transfers from Kununurra, all activities including fishing, 4WD tours, river cruises and bushwalking. Costs from $1307 a night, travel.com.au

$$$$ SA
Skim the historic beauty of northern SA in a Pilatus PC12 on a two-day adventure that includes a stay in the outback Prairie Hotel and a full-day air tour of Lake Eyre South, Innamincka and the Birdsville Track. Highlights include Burke & Wills’ Dig tree and a flight over Wilpena Pound and the Flinders Ranges. Departs most weekends from 19 May to end September. Was $2999, now $2850 a person based on six travelling, includes a copy of the luxury tome Australia in Style, thetailor.com

INTERNATIONAL

$ THAILAND
Smokin’ Bangkok’s hotspot the Dome at the Lebua Tower is a rooftop restaurant and bar for lovers and hipsters. Up the swank factor by staying in the Tower Club at Lebua hotel, with club access and late check-out. Nobody needs to know you’re saving a whopping 80 percent. Get upgraded from a city to a river view suite on one-night stays. Stay extra nights for an upgrade and airport transfers. Travel until 27 December. Normally $1400, costs $224, lebua.com

$ INDONESIA
At the northern tip of Indonesia, the best way to the white-sand beaches of Bintan Island is by high-speed catamaran from Singapore. Save 15 percent on best available rates and get a buffet breakfast when you book two weeknights (Sun-Thurs) at the chic, five-star Angsana Bintan. Stay before June 30, costs from $252 a room a night, angsana.com

$$$ COSTA RICA
So, what did you do today? Why, I zip-lined my way through a cloud forest. Costa Rica’s Monteverde cloud forest has almost 3km of treetop walkways and eight suspension bridges where you can spot the country’s bizarre and beautiful animal and plantlife. Singles get a 10 percent discount, or the second person scores 20 percent off. Book by 18 May, the 10-day Costa Rica Family Adventure costs $1592 a person, twin share, worldexpeditions.com

$$$ MOROCCO
Some of the world’s best shopping is found in the souqs of Morocco, from butter-soft leather slippers to gorgeous weaves. Book Trafalgar’s nine-day Best of Morocco First Class guided holiday 10 months ahead and save $105 a person, or save $70 when you book six months ahead. Costs from $1350 a person, twin share. Trafalgar also has discounted winter companion fares to London when booked with a 2012/13 itinerary. Book by July 31, travel Oct 1 – March 31 2013, trafalgar.com

$$$$$ NEW ZEALAND
Rudyard Kipling called NZ’s Milford Sound the eighth wonder of the world, and rightfully so. The 15km fjord has rock walls up to 1.2km high and is one of the star attractions on the Royal Tourer package, along with the TranzAlpine train journey across the South Island, from Christchurch over the Alps to Greymouth. Book 12 months ahead, save $1700 per couple. Book by July 31, save $350 a person. Costs $5045 a person, see travel agents or aptouring.com.au
TOURWATCH
This is not a trip that you need hiking boots or gas stoves – the streets of Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive demand other privations, such as killer heels and death-defyingly tight skirts.  This four-day tour takes you through Hollywood’s most famous shopping strip and goes celeb-spotting around the mansions of the stars. Includes accommodation at the Andaz West Hollywood hotel on Sunset Strip, and a hop-on, hop-off double decker tour. For more celeb-chasing, add a TMZ Hollywood Tour for $70, a Universal Studios VIP Experience from $286 or a J Paul Getty Museum and Movie Star Homes tour from $105 a person. Book before May 31, travel between Sept 1 - Dec 31. Costs from $672 a person, twin share, travel-associates.com.au

Source: Sun Herald www.smh.com.au 

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