TRAVEL DEALS: 24 June 2012

Senator Bob Brown, ex-judge Michael Kirby and sailor Jessica Watson are all packing their bags and heading to Byron Bay for the annual writer’s festival, 3-5 August, when the town goes crazy. Get in early to grab a twin or double room at the Byron Bay YHA and save $25. They’ll also throw a bacon & egg roll and coffee in for good measure.  Costs $175 a room for two nights, 1800 678 195,

Deep in the heart of Kakadu lies the Holiday Inn Gagadju Crocodile, an Indigenous-owned, crocodile-shaped hotel 2½ hours from Darwin, and close by the celebrated Aboriginal rock art galleries Nourlangie Rock and Ubirr. Stay before September 29 and quote ‘stay clever’ to get up to 30 percent off with free breakfast. Kids under 17 get to stay free, under 12s get to eat free, too, until September 30. Normally $292 a night, costs from $244 a double room, two-night minimum, 1800 007 697,

Medina Executive South Yarra
Facelifts deserve a party to show off, so the Medina Executive South Yarra is cutting 10 percent off two-night stays in its newly revamped hotel.  With new furnishings and kitchens, the apartment hotel includes a revamped pool, if you’re up to braving the Melbourne winter, or the more sensible option, the Drawing Room’s fireplace and cosy chairs. The deal includes continental breakfast for two, parking and noon check-out on stays until August 31. Costs $294 for two nights, 1300 633 462,

Truffle season has begun in WA, and with the added lure of truly beautiful wine, why aren’t we in the Margaret River right now? The tiny 4.5-star Losari Retreat is carving 34 percent off stays in its six spa villas until September 4. With their lake views, hot outdoor Jacuzzis, double showers and cosy lounges, the villas are built for snuggling up. Otherwise, get out with horseriding on the property or cruise the nearby world-class cellar doors.  Costs from $490 for two nights, 1300 130 485,

There’s a reason why Daydream Island is thus named: its white-sand beaches and golden sunsets are the stuff of screensavers. Stay five nights for the price of four in a garden balcony room with breakfast daily. Drawcards include coral reefs, starlit cinema, the popular kids’ club and its famed spa.  Book by December 20, travel by March 31, 2013, land only. Costs $612 a person, twin share, 1300 747 400,

One of Australia’s great multi-day walks, the Arkaba Walk takes the slow route through the Flinders Ranges. The four-way walk covers 45km and does it in style: it’s fully guided and fully catered for, with pre-bush-dinner drinks and star-gazing from your cosy swag deck. Save 25 percent on departures on July 5 and 19, and August 23. Costs $1500 a person, 1300 790 561,

Hurl your skis into the back of your campa van and head for the hills this winter. JUCY Rentals is throwing in a free six or seven day adult ski pass for Treble Cone ski field in Wanaka, worth NZ$570, with every car or campa hired in NZ during July 1-September 30. Vans cost from NZ$25 a day, 1800 150 850,

Stay three nights for the price of two at the five-star Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur. Pay from $465 per person twin share for your stay in a Horizon Executive room and get breakfast daily, return airport transfers and club access with free non-alcoholic beverages and snacks all day, a free cocktail buffet, drinks in the evening and internet. Valid for sale until August 31 and for travel until October 31 and also between November 5and December 20, 1300 939 414,
Get out of Phuket’s concrete jungle and into the tropical jungle at the five-star Trisara, which has just 39 pool villas and 18 private compound-style residences. The little resort, just 15 minutes from Phuket airport, has 2km of private coastline. Book a two-night stay before October 31 and get US$200 credit for each night to spend in the resort’s restaurants, bars and spa. Package includes airport transfers, breakfast, wi-fi, kids’ club and daily snacks.  Pool villas cost from US$695++ a night, +66 76 310 100, 

The five-star Jean Michel Cousteau eco-resort, near Savusavu, is offering six nights for the price of four, as well as free massage, diving for certified divers, all gourmet meals, non-alcoholic drinks, snorkelling trips and a marine biologist on tap, saving 35 percent. Garden view bures can accommodate two adults and two kids under 13. Stay October 14-December 21, and January 7-March 31. Costs $2148 an adult for six nights,

Registan Square, Samarkand
Get around diabolical transport conundrums in Georgia, Armenia and on the Silk Road by travelling by private jet. Fly Singapore Airlines to Istanbul where your jet awaits to whisk you away to Kashgar in western China, Samarkand, Bukhara and the walled city of Khiva. Armenia reveals Yerevan, and explore cave frescoes in Georgia’s David Gareji Monastery before arriving in Ukraine’s Yalta and Sevastopol. The 19-day tour departs September 3, 2013. Book by March 31, 2013, save $500. Costs from $28,915 a person, twin share, 1800 650 738,

Extreme 19th hole, South Africa
Tee off from the Extreme 19th Hole, which is accessible only by helicopter, and aim for the green, which is  420 meters below, in the shape of the continent of Africa. This par-three hole, in northern South Africa, is a golfer’s dream. According to South African golfing great Gary Player, it takes 24 seconds for the ball to hit the ground, and there’s $1m for anyone who gets a hole-in-one. Each hole of the 8km-long championship course was designed by top golfers including Bernhard Langer, Luke Donald and Vijay Singh. This package includes two nights at the Legend Golf & Safari Resort and green fees on the 18-hole Signature golf course. Book and travel by August 31. Costs $499 a person, 1300 320 795,

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