Balinese food adventure, drink in the Napa Valley, hit St Kilda: travel deals June 9 2013
Learn to love the snowflake at the annual Hunter Valley Gardens ‘‘Snow Time in the Garden’’, main picture, which runs through the winter school holidays. The festival features ice skating, snow tubing and snowball challenges, and there’s always wine tasting at the nearby cellar doors if you want to grow up. Families of up to two adults and two children can stay at the nearby Mercure Resort Hunter Valley Gardens during the festival and get tickets to the festival’s evening Snow Time. Kids under 12 also eat breakfast and dinner free. The festival runs from June29 to July 14. Costs from $209 a room. (02) 4998 2000, mercurehuntervalley.com.au.
Beachfront St Kilda is the hangout for Melbourne’s beautiful people, as well as European cafe devotees, live music lovers and flashpackers staying at Australia’s top hostel. Stay two nights in a private room at Base Backpackers Melbourne, just off the beach, and get one free Great Ocean Road day trip worth $125, a welcome drink and breakfast daily, between June 1 and August 31. Costs from $240 a room, two nights. (03) 8598 6200, stayatbase.com.
The Perth hotel scene is on fire with another new opening, this time a five-star, all-suite apartment hotel overlooking the Swan River in the CBD. The Fraser Suites Perth, pictured above left, has 236 apartments, from studios to two-bedroom premier apartments that can be interconnected, with kitchens, as well as a heated pool, sauna, bar and restaurant, and 24-hour gym. Studios will cost from $420 a night, but snap up an opening special with free wi-fi until August 30. Costs from $245 a night (studio). 1800 099 465, perth.frasershospitality.com.
Delay the onset of winter and head to Australia’s hot heart: Intrepid Travel’s four-day Central Explorer departs Alice Springs for the classic desert sights of Uluru, Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and the sandstone walls of Kings Canyon. You’ll get a guided tour of local rock art by the Western Aranda people at Wallace Rockhole and the last day is spent exploring the western MacDonnell Ranges before returning to Alice Springs. Book by June 28 for travel until June30 and save 25per cent. Costs $776 a person. 1300 018 871, intrepidtravel .com/australia-sale.
Hit the road with a trip from Cairns to ... wherever the dart hits the map. Hire a Travellers Autobarn campervan for at least 10 days and save 20per cent. The fully-fitted vans include cooking equipment and sleeping bags and can be returned to any mainland capital excluding Adelaide. Book by June30 for travel August1-September 30, quote code ‘‘SUNH’’. Excludes insurance and any one-way fees. Costs from $437 for a two-berth campervan for 10 days, travellers-autobarn.com.au.
One of the truly great shopping destinations, Manila's must-buys include pearls, fashion and shoes (surprise!). The 538-room Dusit Thani Manila is in the thick of it all, in Makati City. The "Just for two" deal celebrates lovers with one night's accommodation and lays on the strawberries and pralines, rose petals in the bath, a couples' massage and dinner for two. Available until December 31. Normally $458 a night, costs from $320. +63 (2) 238 8888, dusit.com.
Bali's far eastern coast is so quiet, it makes Ubud look like a concrete jungle. Stay three nights at the homegrown Design Hotel Alila Manggis and get a complimentary culinary experience for two: it could be a Balinese cuisine and market tour with the chef, or a seafood adventure on a fishing boat where you cook the catch. There's also an organic garden cooking program and a junior chef experience. Valid until September 30. Costs from $510, three nights. +62 363 410 11, alilahotels.com/manggis.
Take time out like a local with a dip in the natural underground hot springs and a glass of Napa Valley wine at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. An hour north of San Francisco and 30 minutes from Napa, the iconic hotel's spa is one of the country's best, and there's also a Michelin-star restaurant and championship golf course on site. Stay four nights and pay for only three until August 30. Costs from $1077, virtuoso.com.au.
Spot killer whales, visit fishing villages and admire Norway's mountains on this five-day, self-drive tour of Tromso and the Lofoten Islands, pictured. The tour includes four nights' bed and breakfast, car hire, ferry tickets and return flights from Oslo to Tromso. Save 10 per cent when you book by June 30 for travel until September 30. Costs from $1604 a person. 1800 221 712, bentours.com.au.
Flowers and the Big Five go hand in hand in South Africa in August. The 14-day Wildflowers and Wildlife tour travels from Cape Town to Johannesburg, guided by botanical artist Jenny Phillips, who'll help you capture your botanical safari on paper. Book by July 31 and save up to $1000 a couple while solo travellers save $1867. Tour departs August 25. Costs from $8395 a person, twin share, or $10,763 for solo travellers. 1300 336 932, botanica.travel.
Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald