Hide away in the Maldives, Kimberley or Falkands: travel deals 2 December 2012


Hideaway tourism is so hot right now: Western Australia's Kimberley, an island resort in the Maldives (pictured left), not to be confused with those other remote islands, Islas Malvinas, aka the South Atlantic's Falkland Islands. There's deals to be had in all corners of the world. Read on...

TASMANIA
Queueing is sooo boring – stay at Mantra One Sandy Bay and they’ll hand over two tickets, worth $40, to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) Theatre of the World exhibition in their ‘Ultimate Hobart Package’. The hotel is a short walk from the ferry that takes you up the Derwent River to MONA, or is a less romantic 15 minutes’ drive. Costs from $209 a night in a one-bedroom apartment until December 25. 131 517, mantra.com.au.

NSW
The city is hotting up for Christmas, and the Sydney Hilton, on George St, is well placed to soak up the festive vibe. The hotels’Any weekend Anywhere’ deal saves 25 per cent off its room only an dB&B rates on stays from November 26, 2012 until December 31, 2013. Bookings are open unitl February 14, 2013, and you must book at least seven days before you stay. Costs from $209 a night. (02) 9266 2051, hiltonsydney.com.au.  
Hello, Darwin.

NORTHERN TERRITORY
For a taste of real summer and different harbour views, head north to the tropical heat of Darwin and sink a sundowner as the sun sets over the water. Crowne Plaza Darwin’s Recharge package knocks 20 per cent off the room rate and throws in a free breakfast buffet on stays until February 28, 2013. Minimum three nights’ stay. Costs from $354 for three nights, 138 388, crowneplaza.com/recharge.  

VICTORIA
The Yarra Valley is a vista of rolling hills and vineyards, with the 4.5-star Mercure Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort & Spa in its centre. The hotel has just opened its new Experience Pool, set at a toasty 28 degrees, which provides therapeutic treatments and exercises that tie in with its onsite spa. Stay midweek (Mon – Thurs) in a one bedroom spa suite and they’ll include breakfast and a couple of champagne cocktails – perhaps simultaneously? – on stays from December 16 to February 28, 2013. Costs from $305 a night (03) 9730 0700, balgownieestate.com.au.

QUEENSLAND
Forget rumours that Queensland is the most expensive place to holiday in Australia@: take the family for a Gold Coast break for less than a grand. Book a BYOKids family package for two adults and two kids staying seven nights in a two-bedroom apartment in Turtle Beach Resort, and get a round of putt-putt golf, paddle pop vouchers and welcome drinks, as  well as a family pass to "Ripley’s Believe it or Not," worth nearly $50. Book by December 16 for stays from now until December 21, and from January 27 - March 27, 2013. Costs $995 for 2 adults, 2 kids or $1170 for 2 adults, 3 kids. 1300 296 543, byokids.com.au.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
The only way to arrive at Australia’s newest eco lodge is by float plane. The Berkeley River Lodge sits on Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, on the Kimberley coast, one of Australia’s great wildernesses an hour’s flight from the nearest town. Couples save $2100 and solo travellers save $1100 on this four-night package that includes float plane transfers from Kununurra, guided treks, river cruises and fishing adventures. Stay February 1 - March 31, 2013, costs from $5976 a couple, $4488 for solo, four nights. 1300 851 800, abercrombiekent.com.au.

ITALY
When in Rome… drive a Fiat 500. Actually, this new tour starts in Florence, and sees you driving in a convoy of the classic tiny Fiat 500 cars along quiet private roads to a 15th-century Renaissance villa for a Tuscan picnic, swim and wine tasting. The five-hour tour normally costs $190 a person. Book and pay by December 31 for tours between February and October 2013, and save 25 per cent. Costs from $145 a person, twin share. (03) 5722 1245, holidaystoeurope.com.au/specials.

WALES
Visit medieval towns and learn to say their names, especially when their names are Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Lucky you’ve got five days to do so, on a five-day Welsh Explorer. Other Welsh classics on the tour include the wilds of Snowdonia, Conwy castle and a coal mine. Save up to 15 per cent on bookings before December 21, quote code ‘earlybird’. Costs from $349 a person. 1300 287 226, haggisadventures.com.
The Alhambra, Granada, Spain.

SPAIN
Ronda’s beautiful bullring, Real Palace, the Alhambra – does Spanish sightseeing get any better? Yes, when you add wine and tapas tasting, and sangria and flamenco in Seville. The eight-day small-group Spanish Inspiration tour starts in Madrid and travels south to Malaga. Save $812 on bookings made by December 15. Costs from $3468 a person, twin share. 1300 100 410, backroadstouring.com.au.

CHINA
Any holiday can be improved with the inclusion of a Rolls-Royce transfer or lavish afternoon tea, and Shanghai is no exception. Book a two-night Winter Moments stay at the Peninsula Shanghai and get up to US$150 credit to spend in the hotel’s restaurants, spas or services, as well as an upgrade to the next room category, daily American breakfast, free local calls and wi-fi. Stay by March 15, 2013, costs from $714 for two nights. 1800 116 888, peninsula.com/wintermoments.

MALDIVES
The Maldives are the last word in luxury, and the 44-bungalow island resort of Huvafen Fushi per Aquum one of its jewels, with the world’s first underwater spa. The property has just reopened following a refurb and is offering guests free speedboat transfers, free half board and a stay five, pay four deal in its beach bungalows, complete with plunge pool, until December 23. Usually from US$6050, costs from US$3800 for five nights. eliteresortsofasiapacific.com.

TOURWATCH
Marathon obsessives, take note, the world’s most southerly marathon, on the far-flung Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, will take place on March 17, 2013. The remote archipelago comprises more than 700 islands off the eastern coast of Argentina, and its brief summer sees average temperatures of just 15 degrees, though there’s plenty of sunshine. The Falklands hosts an extreme marathon route that sees less than 50 runners complete the race each year. An eight-day tour departs Punta Arenas in southern Chile and visits a penguin colony in Chile, and the Falklands islands of Sea Lion, Darwin and Carcass, for a chance to mingle with the locals – human and animal, including reindeer, orca pods and sea lions. The itinerary includes time for pre-race preparation and costs from $4195 a person including internal flights. +1 406 541 2677, adventure-life.com.

Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald

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