Loving Mungo and Malaysia: travel deals 3 March 2013
Tiptoe through the tulips, snap up a bargain stay in Malaysia or go mad for Mungo in our own wilderness, at the edge of the Outback. (Ok, so this column is up a little bit late, but you never know when a bargain will strike!)
NEW SOUTH WALES
Wring the last out of summer with a quickie getaway to the far northern NSW coast, for great fish & chips and quiet, sandy beaches, just 20 minutes south of the Gold Coast airport. Save 20 per cent on stays at Peppers Salt Resort & Spa, Kingscliff, and get buffet breakfast, in-room movies and internet access thrown in on stays until September 10. Costs from $564 for three nights in a one-bedroom spa suite. 1300 987 600, peppers.com.au
The time poor don’t have to miss out on the beauties of the Top End: the five-day Mysterious North journey whisks you around the crown jewels, including Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks to swim in waterfalls and view Aboriginal rock art galleries. There’s also a cruise down Katherine Gorge and glamping at Wildman Wilderness Lodge to round up a perfect week away from the office. Save $105 when you book six months before departure; tours depart between May 12 and October 20. Costs from $2075 a person, twin share. 1800 467 747, inspiringjourneys.com.au
|The InterContinental Adelaide|
On your bikes, girls, it’s time to explore the Victorian High Country on a Girls Own Bicycle Adventure. Bring your own or hire one of Snowy River Cycling’s mountain or hybrid bikes. The six-day tour starts and finishes at Orbost, in East Gippsland, and covers up to 50km a day (depending on terrain, weather and mood) staying in national park lodges and farmhouses. Departs May 5 and includes a basic bike maintenance workshop and an op shop frock night. Save 20 per cent, or $229, on bookings made by April 5. Costs $1416 a person, twin share. 0428 556 088, snowyrivercycling.com.au.
|The Baglionio, London|
An Italian hotel in London – how could you go wrong? And it’s on sale too. Stay two nights for the price of one, making the Kensington hotel, the Baglionio, an outrageous steal. There’s a two-night minimum, and the offer is valid on deluxe rooms until April 1. Smith members also get a bottle of prosecco into the deal as well: and it’s free to join. Costs from $462 for two nights. 1300 896 627, mrandmrssmith.com.
Malaysia’s five-star hotels are fabulous, and fabulously priced. The luxury Saujana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur includes an 18-hole championship golf course and 260 hectares of tropical gardens. Snap up Malaysia Airlines discount return flights and team up with a four-night stay at the Saujana. Book by March 31 for travel until November 13, costs from $1057, or $753 flight only. directflights.com.au.
A Dutch deal is hard to find, but the tulips are plentiful on Outdoor Travel’s Bike & Barge tour through Holland in the springtime. Highlights include the world’s biggest flower auction, happening Amsterdam, Delft and a cheese farm in Gouda, as you bike in between cruising the serene riverways on a 10-cabin craft. Non-cycling partners are welcome. Save up to $300 per cabin on departures on April 7 and May 12 only. Costs from $1600 a person, includes most meals and bike hire. 1800 331 582, outdoortravel.com.au.
The best of China is on display over 21 days, from Beijing to Hong Kong, with Xi’an, Shanghai and the Yangtze River in between. The China in Depth tour is a hotpot of pandas, Sichuan cooking, Great Walls and limestone crags and five-star accommodation includes the new Westin Xia and Fairmont Beijing. Partners fly free from Australia on bookings made by March 31. Costs from $10,420 a person, twin share. 1300 723 642, scenictours.com.au
Japan just got even cheaper, thanks to a strong Aussie dollar and 15 per cent off World Expeditions’ Japan trips, including its Family Explorer. There are bullet trains, geishas, wasabi farms and fish markets, folk villages and the neon madness of Tokyo on this 12-day trip. The discount applies on bookings made before March 31 for departures July 1 to December 31. Costs from $4,390 a person, twin share. $3746 for kids 6-11 years. 1300 720 000, worldexpeditions.com.
“I think Aussies are really interested in Mungo National Park,” says Janine Duffy of Echidna Tours. “It's like a cathedral of our history, but we can't quite understand it.” The ancient landscape of Mungo is near the meeting place of the Murray and the Darling rivers, in far western NSW: think out Broken Hill and Mildura way. The Mungo Outback Journey is a private journey with guides from the local Paakantyi Tribe who spend three days showing you the beauty of the desert, from brilliant parrots and fairy wrens to extinct marsupials, and the remnants of 50,000 years of Aboriginal history. Fly in to Mildura to pick up the private three-day tour, staying at the pretty river town of Wentworth. Runs from March to November. Costs from $1350 a person, (03) 9646 8249, echidnawalkabout.com.au.