TRAVEL DEALS: 27 May


AUSTRALIA
$ TAS
It’s all about the oysters in this part of the world: take a seat on your suite’s balcony and you’ll be looking across the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to Bruny Island, where the oysters are so big, they have their own postcode. Not beloved of the bivalve? You’ll still enjoy a 34 percent discount at The Cove Kettering Luxury Suites, until September 30. Costs from $180 a night, 1300 130 485, travel.com.au

$$ NSW
The brand-new Gibraltar Hotel Bowral on the southern highlands is 1½ hours from the city. The 72-room hotel’s opening package throws in $273 extra value which includes one night’s accommodation, two one-hour Kodo massages in the Bowral Day Spa, breakfast, wi-fi, two rounds of golf or a yoga class, and the chance to book an extra night for $175. Stay Sunday-Friday, or add $70 for a Saturday night stay. Total value, $612, costs $349 a room, (02) 4862 8600, gibraltarbowral.com.au

$$$ VIC
Forget the Tour d’France, what about a tour of Gippsland? The 2012 RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride, pictured, November 24 – December 2, cycles from Lakes Entrance to Phillip Island, and more than 4000 cyclists are expected to turn up. And they’ll all be camping (there is a softie motel option, too). The 591km, nine-day tour averages 70km a day and is fully catered for, with medical teams at the ready. Book by July 27 to save $100, costs $865 for adults, $625 for kids 13-17, $315 for kids 6-12. Three- and one-day options also offered, 1800 616 600, greatvic.com.au 

$$$ SA
It takes just an hour to blow the cobwebs out of the hire car from Adelaide airport to the liquid heaven that is the Barossa Valley. One of the swishest little self-contained cottages in the Barossa, Seppeltsfield Vineyard Cottage sits on its own boutique vineyard in the historic heart of the wine region. Normally $620 a night, until August 31, its winter weekend package costs $570 for two nights, (08) 8563 4059, seppeltsfieldvineyardcottage.com.au

$$$$ QLD
Flip the dictionary open at ‘glamping’ and you’ll find a picture of one of Wilson Island’s six five-star safari tents. The little island is a coral quay off Gladstone, on the Queensland coast, and takes just 12 lucky guests over 18 years. Book before August 31 for its four-night package which includes full board and free boat transfers from Gladstone. Costs from $2195 a person, twin share, 1800 044 066, travel-associates.com.au


$$$$$ WA
The remote Ngauwudu Safari Camp, high up on the Kimberley’s Mitchell Plateau, is open exclusively to Outback Spirit guests when they explore this remote corner of the Kimberley on a 15-day journey which includes viewing Bradshaw and Wandjina rock art and a helicopter spin over the fabulous Mitchell Falls. Save $500 a person on selected departures of the Exquisite Kimberley Adventure in August and September, costs $7395 a person, twin share, 1800 688 222, outbackspirit.net.au
INTERNATIONAL

$ MALAYSIA
Malacca is between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and its historic quarter bears the hallmarks of Peranakan Chinese culture and its role as a former Dutch colony. Stay two nights and get the third night half-price at the Majestic Malacca resort on stays before September 30 (excludes July 20 – August 30). Costs from $385 for three nights, +60 3 2783 1000, ytlhotels.com

$$ EUROPE
Skip the summer crowds and meet the real locals on a Winter Express 11-day trip through six countries. Cycle Amsterdam, cruise Venice’s canals, see why Paris is called the city of light. Starting and ending in London, the tour includes most meals, coach transport and a witty leader and driver, from November 2012– March 2013. Save up to 10 percent if booked by June 11, Costs from $987, 1300 886 332, topdeck.travel

$$$ TAHITI
Shake it with the professionals during French Polynesia’s Heiva Festival, a celebration of life. The two-month festival, which runs until July 22, is a burst of music, colour and local traditions. Grab a package that includes airfares, transfers, seven nights at Sofitel properties and get a free 4x4 champagne sunset tour, from June 1 – October 31. Costs from $3950 a person, twin share, 1300 858 305, sofitel-frenchpolynesia.com

$$$ NEW ZEALAND
Get a glimpse of Maori culture at a Hangi feast and concert, followed by a visit to the Agrodome Sheep Show, then balance with the unearthly beauty of the Milford Sound and Bay of Islands. Book this 17-day coach tour six months before you travel and save up to $380 a couple on departures from October 6 to September 30. Costs from $3775 a person, twin share (land only), 1300 228 546, aatkings.com.au

$$$$$ USA
If diamonds are your best friend, you’ll love learning how those little beauties are fashioned for your fingers. And maybe snap up one or two at wholesale prices. Why not get a Mac make-up lesson, zip over the skyline by chopper, go behind the scenes on Broadway and get luscious locks at Bumble & Bumble? Oh New York, you really do spoil us. Book a seven-night Quintessential New York journey before June 15, quote SHNY, and get a free night at the Hotel-on-Rivington, worth $400. Tour departs November 17, costs $5899 a person, twin share, 0408 721 569, travellingdivas.com.au

TOURWATCH
Majestic pines, rugged cliff faces, the fine arches of historic buildings and perfect sweeps of sand make Norfolk Island a painter’s paradise. Catch the vivid colours and scenery of the South Pacific on a seven-night painting holiday. You’ll be accompanied by Australian artist Belinda Biggs, who offers artistic tuition during the week: you don’t have to be the next Gauguin, beginners are most welcome. When you’re not wielding the brush, explore the island’s history, the sights of World Heritage-listed Kingston or its coral reefs. Psst: it’s a tax-free shopping haven, too. Package includes flights to the island, seven nights’ twin-share accommodation at Hibiscus Aloha, car hire, transfers, a round of golf and guided walk. Travel October 5-12, costs $1780 a person, 1800 140 066, travelcentre.nf

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