Strange and wild ghouls and snow: travel deals 2 Sept

Morning at Machu Picchu, Peru (Intrepid Travel)

It's all strange, wild and ghoulish in Tassie and Dracula's Romania, and the locals say it's puking in Victoria's Falls Creek (translation: it's snowing heavily, so get on down!)

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Mantra on Frome, in the centre of Adelaide, is throwing open the doors on its new balconies, with a weekend package that includes dinner for two and a bottle of wine at Mantra Hindmarsh Square’s Sq restaurant  as well as late check-out, saving $197. Costs from $219 a night for stays on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights until December 2. 131 517, mantra.com.au.

QUEENSLAND
Melt the ice in your bones with a quickie getaway to Palm Cove, a hop-skip north of Cairns. Stay four nights at the Reef House, a colonial-style beach house, pay for only three. You’ll also get 20 per cent off hotel meals, free wifi, breakfast, and a sunset Brigadier’s Punch in its Brigadiers Lounge as well as free DVDs. Mention this page and get $25 credit in the hotel’s spa. Stay until October 1. Costs from $129.50 a person per night, twin share.  (07) 4080 2600, www.reefhouse.com.au

NSW
Hit the big smoke with a budget stay in town and catch one of the many festivals keeping the city alive including Crave food festival throughout October. Stay three nights at the 3.5-star Travelodge Hotel, near the Thai strip on Wentworth Ave, close to Hyde Park and Oxford St, and save 20 percent when booked by October 7.  Costs from $95 a night, minimum three-night stay. 1800 846 835, hotels.com

TASMANIA
Eerie Port Arthur, Tasmania
It’s a strange and wild corner of the world, down there in Tassie, and the Theatre of the World, a collaboration between the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery’s Pacific bark cloths and Museum of Old And New Art’s (MONA) treasures should have you panting to head south. A four-night Art & Place package includes accommodation at the Mercure Hobart, priority access to MONA Theatre of the World tickets, 30 per cent off its catalogue (normally $80), Mona Roma fast ferry tickets, a bottle of Moorilla Muse chardonnay and a Tasmanian Attraction ticket. Save $793, costs $662 a couple. (03) 6277 9900, mona.net.au/short-breaks.

VICTORIA
The snow has been falling thick and fast in the ski-in, ski-out Falls Creek resort. Catch the last few weeks until the season ends and save up to 50 per cent on peak season rates. Stay five nights at Trackers Mountain Lodge White Space for $1130 an adult including bed, breakfast, dinners, ski lift pass, ski lessons and snow equipment hire. Kids up to 14 years cost $720 and also get free Kids Club from 6-9pm. Also includes afternoon tea, Winter Christmas on Wednesday nights (with turkey, eggnog and all the trimmings) on stays September 7-30.  1800 453 525, skifalls.com.au.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Shoot the breeze in Broome, with sunsets over Cable Beach and the Indian Ocean at your doorstep. Stay seven nights in a Shinju studio the Pinctada Cable Beach resort and get airport transfers, welcome drink, daily buffet breakfast, a five-course spice trail dinner and a one-hour couples’ treatment at the resort spa. Save up to $525 on stays before September 30. Costs $2086 a room for seven nights. (08) 9193 8340, pinctadacablebeach.com.au.  
Novotel Saigon Centre

VIETNAM
Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is a city of extremes, with a wild street food scene and ultra-glam sky-high bars. The 4-star Novotel Saigon Centre is the newest digs in town, with a gorgeous open-air pool and breakfast buffet worth the trip alone. Snap up an opening deal which includes free wi-fi and 10 per cent off spa treatments until October 30. Costs from USD$100++ for a superior room a night. +84 (0)8 3822 4866, novotel.com.

NEW ZEALAND
Pop in on the neighbours and see what’s going down in Auckland. Stay three nights, pay for two at the five-star Langham Hotel Auckland in a Classic room. The hotel is a short amble from the waterfront and the main shopping areas. Includes buffet breakfast each day as well as a free tour of Auckland’s city sights and wineries as well as airport transfers.  Book by January 17, 2013, travel until September 30 and December 14 – January 20, 2013. Costs from $489 a person for three nights, twin share.  1300 130 485, travel.com.au.

ROMANIA
Brasov, Romania
Explore an untouched corner of Europe on a Taste of Transylvania’s six-day private tour. Sleep with Dracula in medieval Sighisoara, lunch with local farmers, visit the castles of Bran and Peles, explore the gothic charms of Sibiu and Brasov and lunch at Romania’s two top wineries. In crazy Bucharest, your address is the historic Athenee Palace Hilton. Book by September 30 to save $150. Costs $2032 a person. 1300 668 844, eetbtravel.com 

PERU
Home of Machu Picchu and Paddington Bear, Peru gets all the South American gems: tracts of Amazon jungle, ancient civilisations and roasted guinea pig. There’s pisco sours to be drunk, sand dunes to be climbed and the tour includes a homestay with a local family on Lake Titicaca. Sign up for Intrepid Travel’s 21-day Peru Encompassed journey, departing Lima October 18, and save $952. Costs $2828 a person, 1300 018 871, intrepidtravel.com.

ITALY
If the blue waters of Capri are beckoning, answer the call on an 11-day Bellissimo tour that starts in Rome then works its way down to Pompeii and the divine coastline of Capri and Naples before delving into the mysteries of Assisi, Venice, Florence and Siena. Includes first-class hotels, dining in a Tuscan olive grove and a farewell dinner to say ‘ciao’ in Rome. Book the September 24 tour to save $485 a person. Costs $3050 a person. trafalgar.com

TOURWATCH
Chelsea Flower Show
Next year, the Chelsea Flower Show celebrates its 100-year anniversary. Australian-owned Botanica World Discoveries takes you to the show, with five and 10 day tours of London’s premier floral display. “While the site at the Ranleigh Hospital gardens is compact, the displays are just sensational,” says Botanica founder Judy Vanrenen, who has been taking Australians to Chelsea since 2005. “It’s a full-on floral experience.” The five-day tour starts in London on May 20 and includes tours of London’s private gardens, as well as four nights’ accommodation in the four-star Crowne Plaza London, St James. The 10-day tour includes entrance to eight other beautiful gardens in southern England and Wales. Costs from $2,655 a person, twin share (5 days) and $5795 a person, twin share (10 days) 1300 305 202 botanica.travel.

Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald

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