Swing and sing across Texas: travel deals 27 January 2013


Do glamour, Gregory Peck and gelato in Italy, swim with dolphins in Western Australia or hit the road, Jack, and swing across Texas, in this week's round-up of domestic and international travel deals.


ACT
Canberra’s centenary calendar is hotting up, with the National Archives of Australia showing exhibitions by photographer Max Dupain and on Britain’s Child Migrants, there are the best political cartoons on show at the Museum of Australian Democracy in Old Parliament House and, of course, Toulouse Lautrec in the National Gallery. Stay at the five-star Hotel Realm, within the parliamentary triangle, until end June and save 54 per cent on the full rate with its ‘Love Notes’ package, which includes accommodation, a mini Moet, dessert platter, breakfast and late check-out. Costs from $375 for two people, one night, quote ‘Love Notes’. 1300 88 7979, wotif.com/hotelW50609.

NSW
You don’t have to leave the state to find one of the world’s longest resort swimming pools: coming in at 485 metres long, it’s at the Oaks Pacific Blue Resort in Port Stephens, 160km north of Sydney. The quiet coastal region is a magnet for fisherfolk, dolphin spotters and those who just like rolling down sand dunes, while the resort facilities include tennis courts, a gym and a Japanese steam room.  Save up to $25 a night on when you book a two-night stay from January 27-June 30. Costs from $258, studio room, two nights. 1300 669 978, oakshotelsresorts.com.

QUEENSLAND
You’ll be praying for hot weather with a deal at QT Gold Coast hotel’s SpaQ, which knocks the price of the day’s top temperature off your midweek one-hour spa treatment. So if it’s 29 degrees, you’ll get $29 off the cost of the treatment. Valid until February 28, Mondays-Thursdays and quote ‘I’m hot’.  07 5584 1108, qtgoldcoast.com.au/spa-q/.
The dolphins of Monkey Mia, WA.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Set foot on the most westerly tip of Australia, at Cape Leeuwin, walk through the Valley of the Giants, watched over by towering forests, and journey into Kalgoorlie’s Super Pit on a 15-day coach tour of WA’s south east. Starting and finishing in Perth, the tour includes lunch at Palandri Winery in the Margaret Valley, a walking tour of Fremantle and a meet-and-greet with Monkey Mia’s dolphins. Book during the wildflower season, from August to November, to see WA’s desert plains flushed with colour. Book with a deposit by February 15, and your friend saves 25 percent. Costs from $4550 for the first person, $3413 for your friend. 1300 228 546, aatkings.com.au.

VICTORIA
Visit some of the most beautiful gardens surrounding Melbourne on a three-night tour just in time for Mother’s Day. Staying at the Sofitel Melbourne, the small group tour starts with high tea at The Hotel Windsor, followed by a street art tour through the city’s laneways, for an edgy touch. The gardens on tour include Cranbourne Botanic Gardens’ Australian garden, Heronswood on the Mornington Peninsula and the William Ricketts Sanctuary in the Dandenong Ranges. Book by February 28 and save $100. Includes  most meals, botanical guides and airport transfers. Costs from $1695 a person, twin share. 1300 305 202, botanica.travel.
Hotel Aviatic, Paris
  
FRANCE
Soak up the Parisian vibe at a discount price at the Hotel Aviatic, on the Left Bank, close by the bars and restaurants of Saint-Germain des PrĂ©s and Montparnasse. Save E135 ($171) on a traditional room or E165 on a prestige room, and get breakfast, a bottle of wine and chocolates on stays until February 28. Costs from E160 (traditional room) or E195 (prestige room). 1800 667 731, aviatic.fr.

COOK ISLANDS
The islands of the Pacific are renowned for their welcoming arms, and those travelling to Rarotonga with Air New Zealand will receive NZ$100 (A$75) to spend, for a very warm welcome, indeed.  You could do an Aitutaki Lagoon tour, enjoy an hour-long massage, get two days’ car hire or buy 20 papaya smoothies! Book by March 4 for travel until June 3, cookislands.travel. Passengers traveling Air New Zealand from Sydney to Rarotonga direct on Saturday nights get an additional round of discounts on activities on the islands. Flights depart Sydney 8.30pm Fridays, arrive Rarotonga 5.30am Saturdays. 132 476, airnewzealand.com.au.


NEW ZEALAND
Spend Valentine’s Day at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, in Hawke’s Bay, voted one of the world’s top lodges and save 15 percent off the standard high season rate. The package includes one night in a luxury suite, a bottle of champagne, rose petals, bath oil and candles. There’s also a five-course dinner, breakfast, mini-bar and, importantly, late check-out. What’s not to love? Valid February 10-17. Costs from $855 a person, twin share (naturally).  +64 6 875 1900, capekidnappers.com. 

FIJI
The sunny islands of Fiji are on the rebound after last year’s Cyclone Evan, with deals to be had. Stay seven nights at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa on the five-star strip on Denarau Island, get return airfares from Sydney, $535 in wine, dine and spa credit, a full-day island cruise, a cultural heritage tour, airport transfers, breakfast, free kids food and kids’ club. Costs from $1690 a person, twin share. Similar deals are available at the Sheraton Fiji Resort and Outrigger on the Lagoon. 1300 00 34 54, myholidaycentre.com.au/fiji/.

ITALY
Glamour, Gregory Peck and gelato: do Italy like Audrey Hepburn, swanning through Tuscany, Rome and the Amalfi coast. Diva alert: join a handful of other fabulous travellers and cruise Italy in the ultimate girls’ getaway of shopping, spas and Vespas. Book and deposit the 14-day ‘Do it like Audrey Hepburn’ tour by February 22 for departure on June 23, and get a free night in a 4-star Florence hotel before or after the tour. Costs from $6959 a person, twin share, quote ‘SHDIVAS’. 0408 721 569, travellingdivas.com.au.

TOURWATCH
San Antonio, Fort Worth, Memphis, Texarkana … if these names resonate with your soul, it’s time to hit the American West – in a Mustang convertible, of course – for a musical road trip across the USA, from LA to Nashville. The Swing Across Texas self-drive tour is fully escorted and departs June 15, hitting Route 66, Vegas and Buddy Holly’s birthplace in Lubbock County, Texas, with the Grand Canyon in there for good measure. The clincher is there’s a live act or entertainment in every city, every night of the 22-day tour, which is included in the price along with car hire and insurance. Costs from $7350 a person, twin share. (07) 5577 4655, classicdrivingtours.com.

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