White Christmas at either end of the globe: travel deals 9 December 2012

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Try Austria...or Australia (if Tassie turns on the cold tap) in this week's best international and Australian travel deals. 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Quintessential Adelaide experiences include coffee at Lucia’s in the Central Markets, where you can shop for a beach picnic in the cool shade of the jetties on the spectacular sweeps of Semaphore and Henley beaches. Save 25 per cent when you stay at the Hilton Adelaide. Book by February 14, 2013 for travel until December 31, 2013. Costs from $169 a room.  1300 888 180, zuji.com.au.

VICTORIA
With the sun finally out, Melbourne’s laneways are bursting with tables for a perfectly brewed coffee or cheeky wine on the footpath. Stay four nights at the 4.5-star Best Western Premier Hotel 115 Kew and save 25 per cent in a one-bedroom apartment which includes a king bed, spa bath and full kitchen. Book by January 31, stay by February 28, 2013. Normally $299 a night, costs from $896 for four nights. (03) 8862 0200, bestwestern.com.au/hotel115kew.


NEW SOUTH WALES
The Metro Hotel Sydney Central is opposite the Capital Theatre, which is currently showing the classic ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’. Stay one night in a deluxe room in the Metro Hotel Sydney Central, which can accommodate up to two adults and two children, and they’ll include a buffet breakfast for the whole family and chocolates on arrival. Normally from $189 a night, stay until December 20.  Costs from $205 for two adults and two children 1800 00 4321, metrohotels.com.au.


NORFOLK ISLAND
Just 2½ hours flight from Sydney, Norfolk Island does old-school school holidays – horse riding, fish and chips and bush walks. Kids stay free on Norfolk Island this summer, with packages including flights from Sydney, seven nights’ accommodation at Hibiscus Aloha, seven days’ car hire, a round of mini golf and discount shopping cards until January 31, 2013. Costs from $1129 for adults and $589 for kids up to 17 years. 1800 1400 66, www.travelcentre.nf.


QUEENSLAND
The calendar of events at the Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, one of Australia’s premier modern art galleries, is worth the trip alone, including the current 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, with 77 artists from 27 countries. The Brisbane Marriott’s Discover Brisbane package includes one night in a deluxe city view room for two, a $30 taxi voucher, free valet parking and breakfast buffet. Usually from $199 room only, stay until January 31, 2013, costs from $249, quote promo code ‘ES2’. (07) 3303 8000, brisbanemarriott.com.

TASMANIA
Hankering for a white Christmas without the international airfare? It’s been known to snow in Tassie on Christmas Day, so maybe you’ll get lucky. Or maybe you’ll get one of those perfect, blue-sky days and the freshest air on the planet on this 11-day Best of Tasmania guided tour. Includes a tour of thriving Hobart, MONA gallery and Christmas Eve at Cradle Mountain Chateau. Travel on the December 22 departure and get an early Chrissy present of $100 off. Costs from $3890 a person, twin share, excludes flights. 1300 228 546, aatkings.com.au.

SINGAPORE
You thought Singapore couldn’t fit one more new hotel, but you’re wrong. Parkroyal on Pickering is set to open near Chinatown this month. Designed by Australian architect Richard Hassel, it’s already earned the country’s highest green rating, with solar power, water recycling and sky gardens. The hotel’s opening special costs from $220++ with breakfast, from January 1 – March 31, 2013. 1800 192 144, singaporehotels.parkroyalhotels.com/pickering/

THAILAND
Get organised for a winter getaway in southern Thailand and save. Get four nights free in Phuket at the Phuket Graceland Resort & Spa, near Patong Beach, when you book eight nights in a superior room. You still get daily breakfast and airport transfers, as well as a two-hour Thai massage for two, and the resort includes kids’ club and facilities and a day spa. Book by January 31, stay April 1 – November 15, 2013. Costs from $351 a person. travelonline.com

VANUATU
Blue Holidays gives you an early Christmas present by cutting $500 off its seven-night stays at mangoes Resort, in Port Vila. The package includes return airfares from Sydney with Virgin Australia. Book by December 31 for travel from now until December 21, and between January 10 – March 31, 2013. Costs from $1171 a person, twin share. 131 516 or visit virginaustralia.com/holidays.

UK & IRELAND
Tick off all the classics – the Blarney Stone, Loch Ness and Buck Palace – on this 16-day tour through England, Scotland and Ireland. You’ll also trail The Beatles through Liverpool on a local Magical Mystery Tour and find what’s hip and happening in London, Dublin, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Tours depart March to October 2013. Book by December 27, save $228 a person. Costs from $2061 a person, twin share, land only. 1300 266 845, contiki.com.au.

SOUTHERN AFRICA
You want it all: Victoria Falls, the Serengeti and Masai Mara national parks, to wake up to Mt Kilimanjaro and, of course, Kruger. APT’s Africa Highlights, which runs year-round, spends 29 days traversing southern Africa including 15 nights in South Africa and 11 in Kenya and Tanzania. The package includes all internal flights, game viewing and accommodation in luxury camps and private game lodges, and is sweetened by a companion-free-flight deal, where your mate pays taxes of $795, saving up to $2040 for a couple. Book before December 31, 2012. Costs from $18,995 a person, twin share. 1300 229 804, aptouring.com.au.

TOURWATCH
Sleigh rides, mulled wine and cosying up in an Italian castle: it’s the antipodean’s dream of a perfect white Christmas. This 10-day tour departs from Munich and traverses the winter landscapes of Germany, Austria and Italy, stopping at Innsbruck and Salzburg’s famous Christmas markets,  popping in to Milan and Venice for a spot of last-minute shopping. Too bad you won’t have time to post your presents back home – oh well, you’ll just have to buy for yourself. The tour includes four nights in CastelBrando, built in the first century and continuously renovated to its current incarnation as a 4.5-star hotel. Set in the foothills of the Dolomites, you’ll spend Christmas Day here, sitting down to an Italian feast. Book by December 17 for travel December 18. Costs from $3199 a person, twin share. 1800 044 066, travel-associates.com.au.

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