TRAVEL DEALS: embrace or escape winter around the world



Oia village, Santorini, Greece
ESCAPE WINTER 
GREECE
Received travel wisdom states that some of the world’s best sunsets are to be viewed in the village of Oia, on the island of Santorini. Save $963 when you book the cliff-top Fanari Villas for four nights between July 1 and September 30. Includes breakfasts and a bottle of local wine. Costs $1310 a suite for four nights, 1300 853 953, travel agents, iconholidays.com


VIETNAM
For a steamy city break, you can’t go past Saigon, with its rich food culture, so it’ll be as hot in the kitchen as it is poolside. Temps don’t change much, the difference is how much rain you get. A three-day cooking package includes classes at the Saigon Culinary School, accommodation and airport transfers, travel July 1-September 30, from $275 a person, twin share, 1300 747 400, creativeholidays.com

MEXICO
The hotter the better: the Banyan Tree Mayakoba, in Cancun, puts its money where its mouth is, offering a discount on your room, spa and boutique that’s  based on the temperature at noon that day. Balmy Cancun sees noontime temps of around 30 Celsius, which will give you 30 percent off. Book July 1-20, stay July 1-September 30. Costs from $643 plus tax a night (before discount), 1800 050 019, banyantree.com 

NORTHERN TERRITORY
The coldest you’ll get on the Mary River wetlands, two hours from Darwin, is 19 degrees at night, but in the daytime, up to a toasty 33 degrees, nirvana for us southerners. With low rainfall, millions of birds gather at the remaining waterfalls, making this a great time for twitchers. Stay three nights, pay two on stays Monday-Friday. Book by July 31, travel by November 30. Includes breakfast and three-course dinner daily. Tours and transfers from Darwin cost extra. Costs $490 a person, two nights in a safari tent, (08) 8978 8955, wildmanwildernesslodge.com.au


ANGUILLA
Hot nights in the Caribbean come with a cool price tag at the five-star Viceroy Anguilla, which is offering four nights for the price of three until end October. Design aficionados will know the resort, decorated by US interiors goddess Kelly Wearstler. The rest of us just love the white-sand beaches, the spa, the saltwater infinity pool… Costs $1185 for four nights, +925 298 9325, viceroyhotelsandresorts.com


EMBRACE WINTER
 Kenya Mt Kilimanjaro from Elerai

KENYA
Winter in Kenya isn’t exactly hardship, and it’s when all the animals are most active. Save $1000 a couple on a seven-night Out of Africa Air Safari departing July 15. Zip between the top game parks including Masai Mara in a Cessna Caravan aircraft, staying in the tiny, beautiful Satao Elerai near Amboseli and Satao Camp in Tsavo. Costs $4870 a person, twin share, 1300 195 873, benchinternational.com.au




VICTORIA
The young and the old get the best deals at Hotham, with under 5s and over 70s skiing free, while kids 6-14 years ski free when they’re with a paying adult who’s booked a three-night accommodation package during the Value Season (September 17-30). Adults are best to snap up a three-day ski pass for $270, saving $48, 1800 468 426, hotham.com.au 

NSW
The Sydney Winter Festival runs July 22 - August 11, with ice shows, ice-skating and, best of all, winter food to warm the cockles of your heart and stomach. The InterContinental Sydney does its bit, serving mussels and wine daily for $20. Save 20 percent off the best daily rate Fridays to Sundays until September 30, includes buffet breakfast, internet and late check-out. Costs from $550 for two nights, (02) 9253 9000, intercontinental.com

NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand's iconic Huka Lodge turns up the heat with cosy log fires and throws in very special events at no extra costs. Get your pencils out for the Big Red Dinner hosted by Waiheke Island’s Stonyridge Wines (August 11) or the Marlborough affair that is Dog Point Winemaker’s Dinner (July 14). Costs from $795 plus GST a person, +64 7 378 5791, hukalodge.co.nz

 South Africa Hluhluwe (Gecko Adventures)
SOUTHERN AFRICA
Rug up and climb aboard your safari vehicle to cruise the wildlife parks of South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland. The trip stars in Jo’berg, finishing in Cape Town and includes guides, park fees and camping gear. Get 30 percent off Gecko’s 23-day African Mosaic trip departing July 20. Was $2583, now $1985 a person, twin share, 1300 791 478, geckosadventures.com

Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald newspaper

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