TRAVEL DEALS 8 July 2012

Varanasi, Indina
Meet the living goddess in Kathmandu or walk God's own country on the Great Ocean Walk in this week's best international and domestic travel deals:

Ski Thredbo and Perisher without the crush of commuters. Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa is on the border of Kosciuszko National Park, and 15 minutes from both skifields, with a free shuttle to Thredbo’s ski tube daily. The resort is throwing in $100 credit to spend in its restaurants, 10 percent off ski hire, hot brekky, and use of all resort facilities. Costs from $266 a person for two nights’ accommodation based on four sharing a two-bed lakeview apartment. Stay before September 30, 1800 020 524,
North of Cairns and south of Cape Tribulation, with the Daintree within cooee, Port Douglas has some pretty impressive neighbours. Take a 4WD out for a bash, cruise the mangroves on a paddle boat or walk the rainforests. Lazy options include hitting the spa or cranking up the barbie on the rooftop terrace of Peppers Beach Club.  Stay four nights, pay for three in a spa suite at the Mediterranean-style resort. For travel until September 12, costs from $331 a night, minimum four nights, 1300 987 600,
Crank up the action on Kangaroo Island with a Winter Family Pack for four people, which includes a private two-hour quad tour for four people, from six years and up, and one sandboard and one toboggan ride down KI’s sand dunes, Little Sahara. They’ll even wax your bottom to make you slide faster. The bottom of your board, that is. Save $103 until August 31, costs $559, (08) 8559 4296,
Stay at one of the most glamorous addresses in the state, Empire Retreat and Spa, in Margaret River. With just 10 suites around a rustic farmhouse and its famed day spa  and get a gourmet hamper on arrival and $450 worth of spa treatments, as well as 15 percent off the nightly rate. Minimum stay two nights, book seven nights in advance, until July 31. Costs from $1070 for two nights in a deluxe balcony suite, 1300 896 627,

Loving being single? Celebrate your freedom with Bothfeet, which has waived the single supplement on its four-day self-guided Great Ocean Walk. The deal includes three nights in the four-star bothfeet sustainable eco-retreat at Johanna Beach, all meals by the in-house chef, transfers, track notes and a satellite tracking beacon. Those canny creatures at bothfeet have also included a foot spa in the deal.  Book before July 31, costs $1325 a person, 1300 767 416,

Described as one of the world’s last true wildernesses and boasting the purest air on earth, the Tarkine region contains the world’s largest untouched rainforest. It is a highlight on the seven-day The Unknown Wilderness through Tassie’s beautiful nature sites. Save $190 when you book seven-day journey six months in advance, for travel between September 1 2012 – August 31 2012. Costs from $3560 a person, twin share, 1800 467 747,

Bibliophilists staying in the Big Apple make for the four boutique hotels of the Library Hotel Collection; #1 on Trip Advisor, The Casablanca near Times Square, The Library Hotel on Madison Ave, the romantic Manhattan Hotel Elysée, and the Art Moderne Hotel Giraffe on Park Avenue South. The hotels are including breakfast, tea, coffee and snacks during the day, daily wine and cheese reception, wi-fi and passes to the nearby New York Sports Club, together worth $220 a night. Book by 31 July, get a box of Belgian chocolates, a bottle of red and a novel. From $237 a night, +1 212 201 1155,
Reserve your slice of paradise on a private tropical island off the Malaysian coast. Book a stay in a new Signature Villas Retreat in the Pangkor Laut Resort and all meals, free spa treatments and a guided walk through the two-million-year-old rainforests and Emerald Bay with the hotel’s resident naturalist. For online bookings only until July 31, travel until December 19. Save 44 percent, normally $994, now costs from $533 a room, a night, 0011 800 9899 9999,

This four-day tour does a genteel trot through the rolling countryside of the Cotswolds,  before stopping in Bath, Stonehenge and popping in to see Windsor’s most famous inhabitants. There’s old English ale to be drunk and late November and December tours visit local Christmas markets. Book before July 31 and travel before March 31 to score a 7.5 percent discount. Earlybird fares cost from $1198 a person, twin share, 1300 100 410,

Watch the savannah plains pass your window on a 15-night train journey on the Shongololo Express, from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls, through South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. Book by July 31 for 2013 earlybird discounts as well as two nights’ accommodation before or after the journey, airport transfers, wine and off-rail activities. The Southern Cross route departs six dates in 2013. Ivory class costs from $4099, saving $1667 a person, 0402 251036,

The Kumari is the living Goddess, and her home is the centre Kathmandu, in mystical Nepal. Pop in and say hi to the goddess on this 14-day tour of India and Nepal, visiting revered temples, stupas and shrines, and maybe fly over Mt Everest, if your heart desires. Further south, play chicken in Delhi’s traffic and pay homage to love at the Taj Mahal. Save up to $551 a person on a Classical India with Nepal premium tour, departing 14 December.  Now costs $5099 a person, twin share, 1300 237 886,

Hamilton Island is one of the Whitsundays’ most beloved islands, yet 70 percent of it is national park. Whether you’re staying in the super-luxe qualia or in the wallet-friendly Palm Bungalows, its new audio tours will take you for a walk through the island’s history and botany, revealing private beaches and top sunset-watching possies. Available in five languages, the guides are a collaboration between a heritage writer and botanist, charting Captain Cook’s journey through the Great Barrier Reef and chasing the island’s beautiful blue butterflies. Download for free through Apple iTunes or stream the Village Trail tour at and You can even hire a pre-loaded tour on an iPod at the Resort Centre or the Reef View Hotel.
Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald newspaper


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