From the top of Australia to top drops of Australia: travel deals 28 October 2012
Visit the tippy-top of Australia, hang with Lawrence of Arabia's mates in Wadi Rum or raise a glass in Wineglass Bay or the Barossa.
Wineglass Bay is often listed as one of the world’s top 10 remote beaches, paying homage to its perfect crescent of white sand. Visitors here are more likely to move on four legs, or hop on two, such is the solitude of the Freycinet peninsula. Freycinet Lodge is offering 50 per cent off on stays until December 20, with brekky thrown in. Costs from $113.50 a person, quote code PT004. 1800 420 155, puretasmania.com.au.
The limestone stacks that make up the 12 Apostles (psst: there are actually only eight) are the main reason to stop in Port Campbell, a bustling village on the Great Ocean Road, about 290km from Melbourne. The new Anchors Port Campbell is perched on a cliff overlooking the dramatic coastline. Stay two nights and save $160, which includes a Heytesbury Ridge tasting hamper, featuring the best local food and wine. Costs $495 for two nights in a self-contained unit. 0417 434 400, anchorsportcampbell.com.au
The Barossa Valley’s original homesteads are beautiful bluestone, and those at Jacobs Creek Retreat, Moorooroo Park, date from 1840. Stay midweek at one of its five self-contained suites and pay less than half price. Expect rose gardens, antique furnishings and sunken spa tubs. You’ll also get a cooked breakfast, local cheese tasting plate, homemade fudge and a bottle of wine on stays until November 29. Costs from $340 a night. 1300 130 483, travel.com.au.
Escape to the Blue Mountains midweek to recharge those drained batteries and save 15 per cent. Choose from Mountain Whispers’ four luxury cottages, which can accommodate two couples, and get two nights’ accommodation, two bottles of wine, handmade chocolates, port, breakfast supplies and $35 toward dinner prepared by an inhouse chef. Book by November 30 for stays until March 31, 2013, Mondays - Thursdays. Costs from $816 for two couples, for two nights. 0430 496 755, mountainwhispers.com.au.
Truly a great southern land, this 10-day Country and Coast coach tour visits Australian icons, from sheep stations to Parliament House, Kosciuszko National Park and Kangaroo Island on its route from Sydney to Adelaide. There’s also fine regional food and wine, an Aboriginal cultural experience and sea lions to be spotted. Save up to 5 per cent when you book and pay six months in advance, valid on departures until December 3, 2013. Costs from $3075 a person, twin share. aatkings.com.au.
|The top of Oz, Cape York, Queensland|
The first European expedition to Cape York, at the most northern point of mainland Australia, was devastatingly unsuccessful, with just three of 13 men surviving. Happily, while the landscape is still as ruggedly beautiful, the 12-day journey is far more pleasant, exploring old gold mining towns, Bloomfield Falls and cruise across Endeavour Strait to visit Thursday Island by 4WD. Book the Cooktown & Cape York tour before December 31 to save $350. Includes a cruise on the Daintree River and an excursion with indigenous Guurrbi Tours. Costs from $6645 a person, twin share. 1300 229 804, aptouring.com.au
Europe’s budget design hotels come to Switzerland, with the 25Hours Hotel in Zurich opening on November 8. Zurich is a business town, so deals are to be had on weekend stays. Normally from $278 weekdays, $185 weekends, the hotel’s introductory offer costs from $225 weekdays and $153 weekends. A member of Design Hotels, book from November 1 for stays until January 31, 2013. +41 43 243 63 10, 25hours-hotels.com/zurich or myswitzerland.com
Sonaisali Island is just 25 minutes from Fiji’s Nadi international airport, and boasts the full monty: white sandy beaches, palm trees, hammocks, and hey, look at that kids’ club! Stay three nights at Sonaisali Island Resort and pay half price, which still includes daily breakfast, free kids’ meals, airport transfers and a jungle cruise. Water activities, including windsurfing and Hobie cats, are also free. Book until November 15 for travel until June 15, 2013. Costs from $272 a person. 1300 883 887, travelonline.com.
Colorado’s not just for celebrities: kids get the five-star treatment at Keystone Resort, 90 miles from Denver airport. Any kids under 12, staying two nights or more, can ski or snowboard for free the entire season, from November 2 until April 8, 2013, with no blackout dates. The resort’s accommodation options range from luxury hotel rooms to self-contained apartments, there are family private lessons and the new snowboard park is designed for boarders from 3-6 years, with the motto, “if they can walk, they can ride”. keystoneresort.com
The Colosseum, Vatican pomp, ancient catacombs and Italian fashion: four reasons to slip the word amore, into your vocabulary. Your Roman holiday includes seven nights’ accommodation in a three-star hotel within walking distance from the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, and return economy flights with Emirates, departing from Sydney. Book before November 30, travel between February 1 – October 31, 2013. Add on a Dubai stopover from $44. Costs from $2500 a person. 1300 787 858, newhorizons.com.au.
UK & IRELAND
|Mt Stewart House, Co Down, Northern Ireland|
Tour the premier gardens of the UK and Ireland, including the 18th-century Mount Stewart House and Gardens in County Down, Northern Ireland and Wales’ Bodnant House and Garden and Chirk Castle, built in 1295. Toursgallery is giving away 12 months’ National Trust membership to all tour guests on its 22-day tour departing July 20, 2013. Costs from $9988 a person, land only. 1300 307 317, toursgallery.com
In the midst of the desert, there is life, as English garden designer Paul Hervey-Brookes demonstrates on this 10-day tour through the Kingdom of Jordan. Green thumbs will already know Hervey-Brookes won gold at this year’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show for his ‘Discover Jordan Garden’. He’ll help you explore some of the country’s 2500 plant species in the Dibeen Forest, learn about Bedouin medicinal plants and discover the quiet beauty of the desert flora of Wadi Rum, a favoured haunt of Lawrence of Arabia. There’s also a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens and, of course, the rock city of Petra and the ruins of its desert castles. Departs from the capital, Amman, on April 18, 2013 and includes accommodation, guides and some meals. Costs from $3212 a person, twin share. 1300 836 764, coxandkings.com.au.