TRAVEL DEALS 1 July 2012

Nashville to New Orleans

QUEENSLAND
Noosa’s restaurant scene just keeps getting bigger, so it’s convenient that the Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa is set up on a hill overlooking the town, letting you stretch your legs and work off those calorific meals. Stay three nights and get a free buffet breakfast each morning (if you’re still hungry). Normally from $299 a night, costs from $159 a night until December 31, quickbeds.com/escape

 NSW
The 18th Biennale of Sydney, a celebration of contemporary arts, is full-steam until September 16, with performances across the city including Cockatoo Island, the Museum of Contemporary Art and  the Art Gallery of NSW. Every event, from performances to film screenings and artist talks is free. BLUE Sydney, on Woolloomooloo’s wharves, is giving the fourth night on the house when you stay three nights or more until July 31, so you can stay longer to celebrate the three-month festival. Costs from $900 for four nights, (02) 9331 9000, tajhotels.com

VICTORIA
The Olsen, Melbourne
Immerse yourself in the landscape art of painter John Olsen, in a five-star suite at South Yarra’s The Olsen hotel. Suites include a kitchenette and the hotel’s glass-bottom pool hangs over Chapel St for a bit of light exhibitionism. Book two nights and get $100 credit to spend at its Spoonbill Restaurant or hire a scooter or smart car to gad about town. The Ultimate Indulgence package applies to stays until August 31. Costs $209 a night, 1800 278 468, artserieshotels.com.au

NORTHERN TERRITORY
Warm up in the Red Centre with the Ayers Rock Resort Family Escape package. Save 30 percent, or $342, staying in a four-star one-bedroom apartment at Emu Walk Apartments from July 1-November 30.  The deal includes free kids’ activities in school holidays, free Indigenous guest activities, and kids under 12 stay and eat breaky free. Also includes airport transfers and Ayres Rock Resort shuttle bus service. Costs from $798 per person for three nights, 1300 134 004, ayersrockresort.com.au/family-holiday/

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
“A zoo without fences” is how the locals describe Kangaroo Island. Happily, most of the animals are herbivores, and the rest are just too small to tackle us humans. Bring on the cable knits and cute hats when you brave the wilds of Kangaroo Island’s spectacular beaches with a cosy coastal getaway. Kangaroo Island Seafront’s new three-star garden villas beside the ferry terminal at Penneshaw are offering four nights for the price of three until August 31. Costs from $1350 for four nights, 138 833, sunloverholidays.com.au

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Gun your 4WD down one of Australia’s most iconic outback routes, the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley, on a 13-day exploration of deep gorges, wide rivers and ancient cultures. The 4WD Kimberley Complete journey starts and ends in Broome, and includes stays in luxurious tented camps, wilderness lodges and outback stations and a helicopter flight over the magnificent Mitchell Falls. Save $1000 a couple on August departures when booked by July 14. Costs $12,990 a couple,  1300 336 932, aptouring.com.au

INTERNATIONAL

ABU DHABI
Tonight’s dinner will be served at a Bedu (bedouin) camp amidst the sand dunes, with camel rides and a relaxing shisha (tobacco water pipe) for afters. Stay four nights at the five-star Intercontinental Abu Dhabi and pay for three, with breakfast, airport transfers, dinner in the dunes and entry to the Ferrari theme park, with the world’s fastest rollercoaster, as you’d expect. Book and travel by September 8. Costs $525 a person for three nights, 1300 747 400, creativeholidays.com

MALAYSIA
Book your slice of paradise on a private tropical island off the Malaysian coast. Stay in a new Signature Villas Retreat in the Pangkor Laut Resort and get a free spa treatment and a guided walk through the two-million-year-old rainforests and Emerald Bay with the hotel’s resident naturalist. Book online only until July 31, travel until December 19. Normally $994, now costs from $533 a room, a night, 0011 800 9899 9999, ytlhotels.com

CHILE & ARGENTINA
Shimmy your way through sultry Buenos Aires and shoot the rapids in adventure-loving Pucon, across the border in Chile, in a 13-day exploration of these two beautiful countries. The small-group tour also pulls in at chic Bariloche, a delight for both powder hounds and summer hikers.  Book by July 22 for August 1 departure to save 25 percent. Was $1450, now $1087 a person, 1300 018 871, intrepidtravel.com

Nashville to New Orleans
USA
If your soul resonates to the twang of a slide guitar, if Graceland is your heartland, or your jazz hands just can’t stay still, head from Nashville to New Orleans on a 10-day tour of the American South. Highlights including making a recording at the RCA Studio B and visiting plantations and antebellum mansions. Save 10 percent on bookings made 12 months in advance. Costs from $2,359 a person, 1300 230 234, globus.com.au

SPAIN
Visit what could be the world’s most beautiful bullring, in Ronda, as part of this 10-day journey through the best of Spain, from the promenades of Barcelona to the fantastical architecture of Granada’s the Alhambra. Book by July 31 and travel by December 20 to get a free night’s accommodation at the beginning or end of your trip. Costs from $11,285 per person, twin share, 1300 851 800, abercrombiekent.com.au

 TOURWATCH TURKEY
Get your hands dirty on an archaeological exploration of the ancient caves and villages of Turkey’s UNESCO-listed Cappadocia region. Led by archaeologist Dr Nota Karamaouna, the six-day journey is based in the village of Üçhisar. “Walking through the Ihlara Valley is a truly heavenly journey,” says Dr Karamaouna, who is working on her PhD on the region’s Byzantine churches. “On the slopes of this 150m deep canyon, amongst the abundance of fruit trees, are cave chapels and monasteries which always brings to my mind the first Christian hermits and monks who began their religious lives in the region over a thousand years ago.” Departs September 3 and includes five nights at the Kale Konak cave hotel, most meals and balloon expedition. Costs from $2145 a person twin share, +44 1600 888 220, petersommer.com

Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald newspaper

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