Make like Ellen on Hayman, jet across Australia, hike to Everest's back door: travel deals May 12

Ubirr, Northern Territory
Make like Ellen on Hayman Island, air-cruise the continent on a private jet or hike to Everest's back door in this week's best domestic and international deals.

There’s more to Launceston than the beautiful Cataract Gorge. Dear old Lonnie (as the locals call it) also has a sparkle in its step, thanks to all the delicious sparkling wines sold at the cellar doors on the nearby Tamar trail. Stay three nights in a deluxe room in the Hotel Grand Chancellor Launceston and pay for just two, on stays until September 30. Costs from $165 a person, twin share, three nights. 132 757,

Get the best seat in the house for Sydney’s Vivid Festival, from May 24 – June 10, and save 20 percent at the five-star Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour. The hotel’s guestrooms have some of the best views of the Harbour Bridge, which will be splashed in light during the festival. Stay in a one-bedroom harbor view suite, which includes its own balcony, and get a three-course dinner for two delivered to your door and a bottle of Taittinger Champagne. The Vivid Stay & Play package costs from $569 a night. (02) 9256 4000,

Birks Harbour Boatshed, Goolwa, SA..
It’s about time the eastern states (as we’re known in SA), turned our attention to the unsung Fleurieu Peninsula. It’s an hour south of Adelaide, but budget a full afternoon if you travel via McLaren Vale’s insanely good cellar doors ( Take a bottle back to your boathouse accommodation on the water’s edge at the port town of Goolwa, a serene retreat on the Murray River. Each of the three retreats sleeps two people, and includes a gourmet brekky basket and a bottle of local wine. Stay three nights, pay for two from June 1 – August 31. Costs from $590, three nights. (08) 8555 0338,

Experience living like an international talk-show host and do Hayman Island the Ellen DeGeneres way. The ellenTV Excape package includes four nights’ accommodation for the price of three, an upgrade to a deluxe room, beachside breakfasts and transfers from the airport on the island’s glam white launch. There’s also a seaplane tour of the Whitsundays and all the windsurfing, catamarans, golfing and island exploratory walks a celebrity could wish for. Valid for stays until December 20, quote code ‘Ellen’. Costs from $1705 a person, twin share. 1800 075 175,

All aboard the Great Australian Aircruise, a 12-day journey by private plane from Sydney to Longreach into Kakadu and up to the Kimberley, returning via Uluru, stopping at Australia’s most iconic country towns, from Broome to Birdsville. Save $750 and they’ll also include accommodation the night before at the Sir Stamford, airport transfers and breakfast, a saving of up to $2000 per couple. The tour departs June 18, book and pay by May 31. Costs from $11,595 a person, twin share. 1800 252 053,

Christchurch’s hotel scene is getting back on its feet, with the re-opening of the Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch on May 1. Get 10 percent off the best available rate, with free internet and free local calls until June 1. Or stay two nights and get 20 per cent off, otherwise stay three nights and get 25 per cent off. Costs from $204.30 a night. 1800 088 888,

Malaysia has to be the ultimate shop-and-flop destination: shop up the bargain-tastic malls of Kuala Lumpur then recuperate on the beaches of Tioman Island at the Berjaya Tioman Resort, where the bargains continue. The resort is offering six nights for the price of five, with daily breakfast and flights from Kuala Lumpur. Book by May 31 for stays till June 30, and from September 1 – October 31. Costs from $609 a person, twin share. 1300 9393 414,

See two faces of enigmatic Russia when you absorb the hard-cash capitalism of racy Moscow with the genteel art scene of its northern cousin, St Petersburg. Save five percent on the six-day Russia Two Cities when booked by 31 May. Includes accommodation, breakfast and rail transport between the two cities. The tour costs from $1214 a person, twin share. 1800 221 712,

Help celebrate the 60th anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary’s ascent of Mount Everest with a 15-day trek in his footsteps to Everest Base Camp. The trek reaches 5000 meters in the Himalayan foothills, starting from the airstrip at Lukla. The price includes 12 nights’ accommodation in local tea houses, return local flights from Kathmandu to Lukla, sherpas and an English-speaking guide. Book by June 15 for departures until December 31, and save 10 percent. Costs from $1395 a person, twin share. 1300 021 123,

Dreaming of a white Christmas? Slip Bing on the record player and book your eight-day Bavaria & the Romantic Road tour, which runs from December 2013 to March 2014 through the Rhine valley. Visit snowy Neuschwanstein castle, medieval towns and see the Passion Play Oberammergau, travelling quiet roads in mini-van comfort with a maximum of 15 guests. Save 10 per cent when booked by May 31. Costs from $2560 a person, twin share, excludes international airfares. 1300 100 410,

From the Silk Road markets of Kashgar to the Taklimakan Desert, across the Aksai Chin plateau to Mt Everest’s North Base Camp in Tibet (did you know there are two base camps?), this 28-day tour takes you far off the beaten track into the wilds of western China and Tibet. The ‘Epic Dreams’ tour kicks off in Urumqi, in Xinjiang , and travels the highest road in the world, the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway. Visit the ancient ruins of past kingdoms, revered temples, see K2 as it hulks on the horizon and spy yak hurders’ camps in the distance. The last stop is Chengdu’s panda reserve. The tour departs August 20 and includes return international airfares with China Southern, tipping and visas. Costs from $7634 a person, twin share. Wendy Wu Tours 1300 727 998,


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