It's guinea pigs on the barbie and Pi Mai in Laos: travel deals March 24, 2013


To die for: Sofitel Sydney's Addams Family suite. 
Roast guinea pix in Ecuador with Celine Cousteau. Go on, you know you want to. Or stay with the Addams family in Sydney, sniff out a bottle of fabulousness in Tassie or hang with pandas in China, in this week's international and domestic travel deals. 

NSW
For lovers of all things creepy, kooky and French, check in to the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth's Addams Family suite, main picture, for the night - complete with cobwebs, watchful family portraits and a haunted mirror - and do high tea, Addams style ("It's to die for," the hotel says). The Addams Family musical opened last night at the Capitol Theatre, and the Sofitel's Soiree lobby bar, resplendent with coffins and tombstones, is serving a blood-red Morticia's Martini and bubbly Pugsley's Poison to celebrate. The Addams Family suite package includes an 'A' reserve ticket to the musical, Club Sofitel access, breakfast, high tea with cocktails and, of course, late checkout (though still in daylight hours). Book by April 28. Costs from $275 a person, twin share. (02) 9228 9188, sofitelsydney.com.au.

TASMANIA
Follow your nose to some of Australia's best cellar doors and gourmet haunts in northern Tasmania, between Launceston and Cradle Mountain. Stay one night at the Country Club Tasmania, just outside Launceston, and another night at Cradle Mountain Chateau and get full breakfast and two-course dinners each night, a bottle of local wine and entrance into the privately owned photography gallery, The Wilderness Gallery, until June 30. Costs from $283 a person, twin share, quote code "CC009". 1800 420 555,countryclubtasmania.com.au.

QUEENSLAND
Hervey Bay is the jumping-off point for Fraser Island, pictured top left, a delight for whale-watchers and simply a place to relax. Save a precise 31 per cent on three-night stays at the four-star Peppers Pier Resort. The resort has two pools, a children's area, day spa and fully-equipped suites with balconies overlooking the bay. Book by April 15 for travel April 2-July 4. Costs from $516 a room for three nights. 1300 888 180, zuji.com.au.

NORFOLK ISLAND
Although it is more than 1600 kilometres from Sydney, Norfolk Island is still part of the 'hood, even though you fly over seas to get there (and you also need your passport). This eight-day tour of the south Pacific island sees you staying in the top hotel, the Governor's Lodge resort, experiencing local culture at the Sunday markets and exploring its rainforests and gardens. Book by September 30 and save $125 a person. Costs from $2770 a person, twin share. 1300 723 642, scenictours.com.au.

CENTRAL AUSTRALIA
Enjoy your own bird's-eye view of Australia when you cross the country on a Bill Peach Gulf to Gulf aircruise. There are only two journeys annually, this year departing from either Adelaide (June 21) or Darwin (July 1). The 10-day aircruise visits iconic outback towns and villages including Innamincka, Birdsville and Arkaroola, as well as raucous Mount Isa and up into Arnhem Land, where you'll stay at the remote Seven Spirit Bay, on the Cobourg Peninsula. (PS: atlases out. The gulfs are Carpentaria and Spencer). Costs from $11,595 a person, twin share. 1800 252 053, billpeachjourneys.com.au.

INDONESIA
Stay five nights in a deluxe room at Kuta’s Hard Rock hotel and get two extra nights free. The offer includes breakfast daily, shopping vouchers and airport transfers as well as a massage, white-water rafting adventure or water-sports experience. Travel from April 1 to June 30. Costs from $519 a person, seven nights. 1300 883 887, travelonline.com.

LAOS
Laos celebrates Pi Mai from April 13-15. The best spot to experience it is in the Luang Prabang. Stay three nights in a garden room at the former royal residence, the 25-room Maison Souvannaphoum and they’ll include a boat tour on the Mekong to watch the celebrations, guided tour of the Lao New Year parade, market fair and city festivals and a Lao Prince dinner as well as half-price spa treatments. Costs from $488++ a room. 856 71 254 609, angsana.com.

NEW ZEALAND
Celebrate winter in style at the famed luxury lodge, Matakauri Lodge, and save 33 per cent. Set outside Queenstown, the view from the 11 suites is of Lake Wakatipu with the remarkable Remarkables towering behind.  Stay two nights in a deluxe suite between May 1 and July 31 and get a third night free: the offer also includes pre-dinner drinks, breakfast and gourmet dinner. Costs from $1430+ a person, three nights. +64 3 441 1008, www.matakaurilodge.com.

EUROPE
It’s veteran tour leader Jeanette Savage’s last European hurrah when she leads Interlude Tour’s 36-day journey through Europe, departing September 18. Just 17 guests will fly to Paris and travel to the Loire Valley, visit Bilbao’s Guggenheim, see Gaudi’s masterpieces in Barcelona and revel in the beauty of Provence, Cinque Terre and the Swiss Alps, staying in boutique hotels. Book by April 19 and they’ll include airport transfers and two nights’ accommodation for two at the Rembrandt Hotel Bangkok on the way home. Costs from $12,240 a person, twin share, includes economy air fares. (02) 9405 2218, interlude-tours.com.

CHINA
Intrepid My Adventure Store is cutting 25 per cent, or $550, off its two-week tours from Beijing to Shanghai when booked by April 15, for travel May 20 and June 3. The tour ticks off the Chinese icons, including the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors and Tienanmen Square, as well as volunteering at the Bifengxia Panda Breeding Centre and staying at a rural farm.  Costs from $1500 a person. 1300 021 123, myadventurestore.com.


TOURWATCH
Celine Cousteau in underwater action.
With a pedigree that lists Jean-Michel Cousteau as her father and Jacques Cousteau as grandfather, you know that an adventure with French explorer Céline Cousteau is going to be a wild ride, indeed. Céline will spend three days with you on Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands as part of Contiki’s 11-day Galapagos & Ecuador tour. Remember, it’s still South America, so expect guinea pig on the barbie, hip-flinging salsa and a chance to stare into the abyss at Cotopaxi volcano.  As part of Earth Month, Contiki will donate all profits from this trip to local Oceanic initiatives in the Galapagos. The tour departs April 21. Costs from $2685 a person, twin share. 1300 266 845, contiki.com.au.


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