Find beauty in Sri Lanka, Tasmania or Madagascar: island & beaches' travel deals May 5, 2013


Colours of Tasmania's Bay of Fires.
Find beauty in a Sri Lankan boutique hotel, in Tasmania's Bay of Fires or in the bright eyes of a Madagascan lemur.

QUEENSLAND
Save up to $450 on a three-night stay on the Gold Coast’s beautiful beaches in the happening QT hotel. The Family Fun package gets you two interconnecting rooms (hey, no kids sharing your bedroom!), breakfast for two adults and two children under 12 and a family pass to Dreamworld, worth $230. Psst: starve yourself in advance for the hotel’s fabulous buffet restaurant, Bazaar. Costs from $360 a night, minimum three night stay. Available until December 24. (07) 5584 1200, qtgoldcoast.com.au.

NSW
With Tiger now joining Virgin and Qantas flying up to Coffs Harbour, the NSW north coast just got a whole lot closer to Sydney. The strip, from Coffs to Nambucca Heads, is a market lover’s paradise, with growers’ markets, beach markets and even Bollywood markets on the beach at Woolgoolga (coffscoast.com.au). Book five nights in a beachfront apartment at Smugglers on the Beach and get a bottle of wine and save $125. For stays until August 31. Costs from $625, five nights. (02) 6653 6166, smugglers.com.au.

VICTORIA
Cycle the iconic Great Ocean Road, from Mt Gambier’s Blue Lake, just across the SA border, to Geelong, covering 610km. This is the 30th year for the RACV Great Victorian Bike Ride and up to 6000 cyclists are expected to take part in the ride, from November 23 – December 1. You can do a nine-day, fully catered camping holiday, with medical and bike repairs support, opt for the three-day leg from Gellibrand to Geelong, or the last day’s day ride from Torquay to Geelong. Registrations open for the general public on May 20. Book by July 29 and save $100. Costs from $895 adults, nine days, $460 adults, three days, or $70, one day. 1800 639 634, greatvic.com.au.

TASMANIA
Keen walkers know that Tassie’s east coast is the home of the happy hiker. Get your boots on for three days walking the white beaches of Wineglass Bay, the fossil cliffs and peaks of Maria Island or the glorious Bay of Fires. Complete the immersion in all things Tasmanian with starlit dinners with Ninth Island wines and local cheeses. Get in early for next season and save up to $150. Book by June 30 for travel from September 2013 to March 2014. Costs from $849 a person for the three-day Bay of Fires walk. (02) 9913 8939, lifesanadventure.com.au.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
The epitome of Australian luxury, and constantly voted one of Australia’s top stays, the Southern Ocean Lodge is on sale. Pay half price – saving more than  $3600 – when you stay three nights at the 21-suite Kangaroo Island retreat. The all-inclusive rate covers all gourmet fare and naturalist experiences to show you the best of KI. Book by May 31 for stays until August 23. Costs from $3600 a couple, Ocean Retreat, three nights. 1300 851 800, abercrombiekent.com.au.

At Kahanda Kanda, the order is to drink tea and watch the
peacocks and monkeys at play.
SRI LANKA
One of the country’s top boutique hotels, the eight-suite villa Kahanda Kanda is on a working tea estate by the serene Koggala Lake and its stilt fishermen. Stay three nights, pay for two or stay seven nights and pay for just five, with a free upgrade and spa treatments included. The villa does not take children under 12. For stays from June 1 – July 31. Costs from $548, three nights. +94 (0) 91 494 3700, kahandakanda.com.


CHINA
Tagged as the Chinese Riviera, Hainan Island is officially going off, as Julia Gillard would have noted when she visited recently. The newest addition is the Raffles Hainan, in Clearwater Bay.  There are 299 rooms and 32 villas in the resort, beside two championship golf courses and a 200-berth marina. Stay three nights, pay for two from September 1 - December 31. Includes an upgrade to a Grand Ocean view room, airport transfers, breakfast and checkout at 6pm. Yes, 6pm. Costs from $297 plus taxes. 0011 800 1723 3537, raffles.com.


MADAGASCAR
Madagascar’s nature – including lemurs, chameleons and humpback whales – makes it a haven for adventurers. Save up to $1440 a couple on Bentours’ eight-day Barefoot Luxury South Explorer journey through rainforests, islands and bays. Includes stays at Mandrare River Camp, two regional flights, all transport, park fees, guides and excursions. Book by July 1 for travel June 25 – July 31. Costs from $3490 a person, twin share. 1300 799 783, escapetravel.com.au.

TAHITI
For the quintessential overwater bungalow experience, go back to where it all began. Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora’s Surf & Turf packages is no steak-and-prawns affair, it combines three nights in an overwater bungalow (surf) and another three in two-bedroom beachfront villa (turf). Included is daily buffet breakfast, a two-hour walk and snorkel with their resident marine biologist and a reef walk, saving up to $1168. Costs from $9241, six nights. +(689) 603 130, fourseasons.com/borabora.  

VIETNAM & CAMBODIA
Spend 15 days exploring the waterways and architecture of the Mekong River, Ha Long Bay and Angkor Wat temples, and get free flights to Asia and two free hotel nights pre-or post-tour. The tour includes seven nights on the RV La Marguerite on the Mekong. Book by May 15 for travel between July and September. Prices include all touring, meals, drinks and guided excursions. Costs from $4,395 a person, twin share. 1300 300 036, travelmarvel.com.au.

TOURWATCH
It wouldn’t be Christmas without Helen Reddy, but be prepared to turn the season on its head when the singer leads Christmas in July on Norfolk Island. Reddy, who has a home on the island, returns regularly to unwind amidst the island’s serenity. She is opening her house to guests for one night during the eight-day tour, which covers all the island’s World Heritage sites. Reddy will spend two nights with the group, including a progressive Christmas dinner and will perform two concerts and lead the carols singalong, of course. The package includes return airfares with Air New Zealand and seven nights’ accommodation.  Departs July 8. Costs from $2055 a person. 1800 645 103, www.norfolkisland.com.au.


Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald

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