We will remember them: Anzac Day tourism

Momentous: 2015 will be the 100th anniversary of the Anzac
landing at Gallipolli. Photo: Reuters
Anzac Day tours remain
strong, but many people are saving for Gallipoli’s 100th anniversary,
writes Belinda Jackson.
Commemorating Australia’s war dead at Gallipoli’s Dawn
Service on Anzac Day is now an established travel experience, and tour
operators say the numbers are growing each year.
However, specialist battlefield tour operators say
bookings for 2013 and 2014 are weaker as travellers save their money for 2015,
the 100th anniversary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli.
In anticipation of the high demand expected in 2015, the
Australian and New Zealand governments have capped the number of attendees permitted
at the dawn service at Gallipoli. There will be only 8000 tickets available to Australians,
to be chosen by ballot drawn early next year, the Department of Veterans
Affairs says.
In comparison, it’s expected about 6000 Australians will
attend Dawn Service in Gallipoli next week.
Veterans’ Affairs minister Warren Snowdon is warning tour
operators not to promise seats at the 2015 commemorative services. While the
details are yet to be announced, tour operators will not be able to apply for a
ticket on a traveller’s behalf.
John Waller of Boronia Battlefield Tours (boroniabattlefieldtours.com.au),
which runs tours for the Australian War Memorial, says interest in 2015 is still
very high, despite the uncertainty. “Some people are booking their seats
already on the hope they’re successful in the ballot, but many are holding off,”
he says.
Both specialist and mainstream tour operators agree the
popularity of Anzac Day tours continues to rise, but while Gallipoli is still
the star destination, it’s not all quiet on the Western Front. British-based
Back Roads Touring, which caters for the over-50 market, says the European
battlefields are popular with older travellers wanting to trace the whereabouts
of family members who fell on the battlefields of the Somme, and London-based
Aussies. The main site, the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux,
is 140km north of Paris.
“It’s an easy trip on the Eurostar out of London when
compared with the longer haul to Turkey,” agrees Ben Ittensohn of Top Deck bus
tours, which cater for 18 to 39 year olds. Top Deck added a Western Front tour
two years ago as it was “struggling to cope with the sheer volume” on its
Gallipoli tours, while Trafalgar this year launched a new 12-day tour through
the battlefields of the UK, France and Netherlands (trafalgar.com).
“Attendees are hovering around 4,000 at
Villers-Bretonneaux,” says Peter Norton of Western Front Tours
(westernfronttours.com.au), figures that are expected to rise as the Somme
commemorates its own centenary in 2016.
Battlefield historian Mat McLachlan of Mat McLachlan
Battlefield Tours (battlefields.com.au) agrees. He says those wanting to avoid
the crowds head to the Menin Gate in Ieper (Ypres), Belgium, where there is a
smaller Anzac Day service. Villers-Bretonneux town and the nearby village of
Bullecourt will also conduct ceremonies later in the day.
“There are also services in other places where
Australians have served, including Vietnam, Korea and El Alamein in Egypt,”
adds Mat.
The Australian government also conducts a ceremony at
Hellfire Pass, Thailand, commemorating the prisoners of war who worked on the
Thailand-Burma Railway in the Second World War. Services have been held in the
past at Sandakan, Malaysia, although
political unrest in the region means there will be no government service in
2013.

Italian trains, Croatian hideaways and Kangaroo Island feasts: travel deals April 21, 2013

Dubrovnik, Croatia

See Italy by train, do Croatia beautifully, in boutique-hotel style or give a goat the eye on Kangaroo Island on an Australian food safari in this week’s best Australian and international travel deals.

NSW

Wind
down on the banks of the Murray River at Barham, between Echuca and
Swan Hill, and take the time for sculpture walks, riverside barbecues, a
round of golf or some great fishing. Stay three nights at Barham Golden
River’s self-contained apartments and save up to $118 on stays until
August 31. Three nights from $236. 1800 243 355, goldenriversapartments.com.au.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Spot
crocodiles and wild geese, bathe in waterfalls, admire the rock-art
galleries of Ubirr and Nourlangi and breathe in the pure tropical air of
the Territory’s Top End on a three-day getaway that takes you through
Litchfield and Kakadu national parks. Forget slumming it: you will spend
one night at the luxury Wildman Wilderness Lodge, pictured above left,
on the Mary River wetlands and the next at indigenous-owned Gagudju
Crocodile Holiday Inn. Save up to 10 per cent on Long Rainbow tours
departing June 6 and July 7 and 14. Quote code PP406. Costs from $1255 a
person, twin share (departs Darwin). 1800 467 747, inspiringjourneys.com.au.

QUEENSLAND

Mantra Noosa, Qld.

If
you want to see what $5 million looks like, check in to Mantra French
Quarter in Noosa (formerly a BreakFree), on happening Hastings Street.
The 68 one- and two-bedroom apartments have all been upgraded with new
kitchens and furniture. To celebrate, the opening two-night Relax and
Refresh package includes free in-house movies, popcorn and a cheese
platter on arrival. Book a one-hour massage at Endota day spa and you’ll
also get a free 30-minute facial. Book by May 20 for stays until
December 24. Costs from $374 for two nights in a one-bedroom apartment,
or from $458 for two nights in a two-bedroom unit. 1300 987 604, mantra.com.au.

TASMANIA

Bridestowe Lavender
Farm, Tasmania

Skip
across the puddle to discover the natural beauty of the Nut at Stanley,
Mount Field National Park, Eaglehawk Neck and the Bridestowe Lavender
Farm in a 12-day exploration of Tasmania. There are stays in crafty
Launceston and the west coast town of Strahan, as well as Freycinet
National Park, home to the perfect crescent of Wineglass Bay,
consistently ranked in the top 10 of the world’s best beaches. Book
before July 31 and save up to $500 a couple on the Royal Tasman escorted
coach tour on departures between September and May. Costs from $4545 a
person, twin share. 1300 229 804, aptouring.com.au.

TRANS-AUSTRALIA

Cross
Australia in style, from Sydney to Perth via Adelaide, on a
4348-kilometre journey. Scenes from your window include the Nullarbor
Plain, the Blue Mountains and the vineyards of South Australia.
Travellers who book gold service class can save 20 per cent off the fare
and train excursions, worth up to $484. The package includes all meals
and most drinks, and a 50-kilogram luggage allowance. Book by July 31
for travel June 1-October 31. Costs from $1832 for an adult. 1800 014
392, greatsouthernrail.com.au.

Venice, Italy

ITALY

Seeing
Italy by train is much cheaper now, with main operator Trenitalia
cutting some fares by up to 70 per cent. Save up to $40 on economy fares
between Milan and Rome (now $66); $23 off Rome-Florence ($41) and $31
off Rome-Venice ($68). Tickets can be booked up to three months in
advance. raileurope.com.au.

NEW ZEALAND

Sweet-toothed
Australians already know about the Dunedin Cadbury Chocolate Carnival –
July 20-26, 2013 – which includes a tour of the Cadbury chocolate
factory, chocolate painting, and a jaffa race down the world’s steepest
street. Apollo Motorhome Holidays is celebrating a decade in NZ with
discounts on all campervans, from two to six berths. Save up to $19 a
day on a six-berth motorhome, costs from $48 a day. 1800 777 779, apollocamper.co.nz/specials/chocolate-carnival.

CROATIA

Balmy
seas and fabulous mediaeval architecture are the hallmarks of
Dubrovnik. Enjoy its delights from Villa Dubrovnik, perched on a rocky
outcrop. Stay seven nights and pay half price as part of Mr & Mrs
Smith’s 50 Half Price Hotels promotion. Other hotels on sale include
Anantara Seminyak in Bali, from $226 a night, and Hotel Crillon le
Brave, Provence, France, from $172 a night. Book until May 14 for stays
until July 14. Villa Dubrovnik is usually from $260 a night. 1300 896
627, mrandmrssmith.com/au/luxury-hotels/villa-dubrovnik.

Sheraton Maldives

MALDIVES

Fabulous
families holiday in the Maldives: stay eight nights at the Sheraton
Maldives Full Moon Resort and get two free nights, for families of two
adults and two children. The package includes international airfares,
breakfast and dinner daily, until December 23. From $12,200. 1300 296
543, byokids.com.au.

HAWAII

Regarded
as the nirvana of the shop-and-flop brigade, Hawaii gets an adrenalin
hit as World Expeditions gets you up and going with its Hawaii hiking
itinerary. The 14-day adventure crosses Kona, Kauai and Maui, walking
through cloud forests, tropical swamps and the craters of Haleakala
National Park. Save $200 on the May 19 departure. Costs $3090 a person.
1300 720 000, worldexpeditions.com.

TOURWATCH

The
greats of South Australian food come together at the country’s premier
eco-lodge, Southern Ocean Lodge, in the annual Kangaroo Island Food
Safari, which runs for six nights from August 24. The island truly is
the land of milk and honey. Get your gumboots out as cook-and-chef team
Maggie Beer and Simon Bryant lead the safari. Chef Damien Pignolet, of
Woollahra’s Bistro Moncur fame, joins the safari, which includes cooking
demonstrations, winery lunches and drinks at Remarkable Rocks. The
six-night package includes accommodation, dining and epicurean
excursions, open bar and flights between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island.
Costs from $5940 a person, twin share for six nights. (02) 9918 4355, southernoceanlodge.com.au.

Chic digs in Paris, Siem Reap and Melbourne: travel deals April 14, 2013

Geikie Gorge, Western Australia.

A Parisienne apartment, Raffles hotel in Siem Reap, and the Como Melbourne: this week’s international and domestic travel deals are all about chic digs.

NSW

Looking for an easy, passport-free school holidays? Take a spin on Katoomba’s Scenic Railway (scenicworld.com.au) or watch battle re-enactments at Ironfest in Lithgow, April 20-21 (ironfest.net). The Blue Mountains is also celebrating the first recognised European crossing, with re-enactments of the path of explorers Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth in 1813 (visitbluemountains.com.au). Families of up to four can save $72 on a two-night stay at the Blue Mountains YHA until July 31. Includes breakfast daily and free wi-fi at the art deco property in Katoomba. Costs from $240, two nights. (02) 4782 1416, yha.com.au.

QUEENSLAND

The luxury of holidays is doing what you want: and if you want to stay in and watch movies, then order the Outrigger Twin Towns Resort’s Movie Munch Package. The deal includes free popcorn and retro lolly bags, as well as a free room upgrade and daily breakfast. The hotel, at Tweed Heads-Coolangatta, is beside the Twin Towns Services Club, which has just had a $21 million renovation, with a new line-up of entertainment including Pete Murray, Lee Kernaghan and the Blue Oyster Cult (yes, really). Costs from $298, two nights until April 30. (07) 5536 2121, outrigger.com.au.

TASMANIA

Delve into the beauty of the Tarkine wilderness, as seen through the eyes of top nature photographer Steve Parish, who rates a dawn shoot on the Pieman River as one of the highlights of his 50-year career behind the lens. He is hosting a five-day residential workshop at Corinna Wilderness Retreat, an old goldmining town in the Tarkine, for photographers to help them capture that perfect moment. There are night photography walks and post-production workshops, as well as kayaking trips and early-morning river cruises on the hunt for platypus and birds. The tour runs from August 18 to 23. Book by May 31 and save $1500. Costs from $3250 a person. (03) 6446 1170, corinna.com.au.


VICTORIA

Melbourne’s Toorak is hot again, with smokin’ eateries including misschu, MoVida Bakery and Claremont Tonic all just five minutes apart. Stay three nights in the slicked-up Toorak icon, the Como hotel, pictured top left, and pay for just two nights, as part of Accor’s global Stay 3, Pay 2 sale. Book by June 25 for stays until June 30. Costs from $366, three nights. 1300 656 565, accorhotels.com.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Hit the north-western coastline on an 18-day adventure from Darwin to Perth, and save up to $450 a person. Highlights include stays in El Questro, Karijini’s National Park in the Pilbara, at Ningaloo Reef and Monkey Mia – expect ghost towns, camel rides, empty deserts and sparkling beaches. Book by April 30 for one of nine departures between May and September. Costs from $6545 a person, twin share. 1300 300 036, travelmarvel.com.au.

NEW ZEALAND

Scenery and food are two of Queenstown’s signature experiences. Get both with the Rees Hotel’s dinner, bed and breakfast package, on April 27. The hotel is serving a five-course degustation menu with Waiheke vintages by Destiny Bay up against Bordeaux France for $237. Stay a second consecutive night for just $40. Costs from $438.20 a person, two nights, quote “ASHCS”. therees.co.nz.

FRANCE

If you’ve come to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower, you won’t be disappointed. There it is, as seen from your bedroom window, just 15 minutes’ walk across the Seine. You can rent out two bedrooms in this wildly creative mansion or share the B&B and make new friends. Book by May 31 for stays until November 30 and save $50 a night. Costs from $165 a night, two people, including breakfast. petiteparis.com.au.

FIJI

Check in to a week at the Fiji Hideaway Resort & Spa on the Coral Coast and get up to $1000 in bonus extras such as return airport transfers and $F500 ($270) credit for resort food and spa treatments. Includes return flights with Air Pacific, meals, some drinks, and under-12s get to play, stay and eat free. Book by April 30 for travel in May and November, with additional dates available with a surcharge. Costs from $1440 a person, twin share. myholidaycentre.com.au/fiji.

PERU

Walk in cloud forests and witches’ markets, from Quito to La Paz. Intrepid My Adventure Store is knocking 15 per cent off its South America trips booked until May 15 for travel until August 31. The 36-day journey includes camping, homestays, Machu Picchu at sunrise and a Mancora beach sunset. Save $526, costs from $2969 a person, twin share. 1300 018 390, myadventurestore.com.

EGYPT

Visit the home of two of the seven wonders of the ancient world (including the Giza pyramids, pictured) at half price. Tempo Holidays’ 11-day Wonders of Egypt tour, which visits Cairo and Alexandria and spends four nights cruising the Nile from Luxor to Aswan, is offering two for the price of one on tours departing May 3-17 and July 12-26. Book by April 30; includes internal flights. Costs from $3230 for two people, twin share. 1300 558 987, tempoholidays.com.

TOURWATCH

Journey into Cambodia’s elaborate Khmer culture on a
five-night tour, staying three nights at Raffles
Grand Hotel d’Angkor in
Siem Reap and two in Raffles Hotel Le Royal, Phnom
Penh. Meet eminent Cambodian artists, learn the secrets behind shadow puppetry
and classical dance, and get into the kitchen to cook the recipes from the
Royal Palace of Cambodia. The tour also reveals charitable projects in Phnom
Penh’s Lotus Blanc restaurant and Siem Reap’s Artisans d’Angkor’s Silk Farm.
Includes a traditional Khmer spa treatment, helicopter flight over Angkor and
sunrise at Angkor Wat. A Journey
Through Khmer Culture costs from $3095 a person, five nights, twin
share. 0011 800 1723 3537 (toll free), raffles.com.

Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald

Step into the Famous Spiegeltent or on board a private jet for an African safari: travel deals April 7, 2013

Intercontinental Sydney
Private jets are back, people. You mean you didn’t know they were out of style, and had been hanging onto yours in a hangar out the back? Let someone else do the flying while you skim the continent of Africa. Or try Knight School in Sydney or glamp on the Great Barrier Reef in this week’s international and domestic travel deals. 
NSW
Want to know what’s happening in Sydney? The InterContinental Sydney’s chief concierge and Les Clef d’Or member David Patt suggests Cirque de las Symphony (April 18-20) or perhaps Knight School for kids during the school holidays. Sydney’s also is in the midst of its autumn thoroughbred racing season, with the Sydney Cup Day on April 27, and there are more thoroughbreds on display at the Art Gallery of NSW, at the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize winners’ annual exhibition.  Stay two nights at InterContinental Sydney before April 30 and get 20 per cent off your room as well as a free breakfast buffet for two. Costs from $250 a night. 1800 781 066, sydney.intercontinental.com.
TASMANIA
Hobart’s iconic Wrest Point, on the banks of the Derwent River, has hit plenty of benchmarks: Australia’s first legal casino, Hobart’s first five-star rooms, and now it’s celebrating 40 years in the business with a Ruby Anniversary package. Stay in a premier suite and get room service breakfast, a box of Tasmanian red fruit, a Huon pine cheese platter and knife with Ashgrove Rubicon Red cheese, a bottle of House of Arras vintage Rose 2004 and, to finish, a commemorative ruby necklace by goldsmith Gavin MacSporran. Costs from $950 for two, saving $216. Valid until February 10, 2014. 1800 703 006, wrestpoint.com.au.

VICTORIA
The Famous Spiegeltent is in town and Robyn Nevin is
treading the boards at the Southbank Theatre. Kick up your heels on a Friday
night at Melbourne’s coolest hotels, the Art Series, which comprises the
Cullen, Blackman and Olsen. Their Weekend Retreat deals include $25 to spend
inhouse – think food, movies or bike hire – and they’ll work in a room upgrade
as well. Valid for Friday – Monday nights until August 31. Worth around $280, costs
from $209 a night. 1800 278 468, artserieshotels.com.au.
QUEENSLAND
Get shipwrecked in style on tiny Wilson Island, which can accommodate just 12 guests in six luxury tents on the beach, with hammocks, housekeepers and chefs as befits the ‘glamping’ (glamour camping) tag. The rate includes all meals and non-alcoholic drinks and return boat transfers from Gladstone. Booking the whole island saves over $300 on the individual rate: book by June 30 for stays now until May 4, from June 30 2013 – January 27, 2014 and March 1-31, 2014. Costs from $6499, two nights. 1800 044 066, travel-associates.com.au.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Indijup Spa Retreat, WA
Very private, very fabulous, the Indijup Spa Retreat in
Yallingup is three hours south of Perth, overlooking the Indian Ocean and is
said to lure the likes of Our Kylie. Each of the 10 villas has pools and
panoramas on tap and the spa products are by another WA success story, Sodashi.
Stay seven nights and save up to 39 percent at the five-star retreat on stays
until September 10.  Costs from $2765 a
villa, seven nights. travel.com.au.
 NEW ZEALAND
Skiers, carve up a snow bargain in Queenstown at Oaks Shores and Oaks Club Resort, on the glacial Lake Wakatipu. Rooms start at $109 a night until June 27, rising to $134 a night between July 15 – August 31, with a minimum three-night stay. Book until April 21. Costs from $327 a room, three nights, or $717 for a two-bedroom lakeview apartment, three nights. oakshotelsresorts.com/oaks-club-resortoakshotelsresorts.com/oaks-shores.
Holiday Inn Express Phuket Patong Beach Central
THAILAND
Phuket’s newest hotel, the Holiday Inn Express Phuket
Patong Beach Central, has just opened and is offering a lovely, long opening
special until October 2013. The deal includes breakfast and high-speed wi-fi.
There are 277 rooms with private balconies, just a few meters from the beach
and within walking distance of Patong’s shopping and dining strips. Costs from
$65++ a night. 1800 007 697, holidayinnexpress.com.
TANZANIA
Mneba Island, Tanzania
A tiny dot in the Indian Ocean off the coastline of
Zanzibar, Mneba Island hosts just 20 guests at one time. Stay three nights at Mnemba
Island Lodge and get a free one-way flight from Zanzibar. The private island is
famed for its white-sand beaches, coral reefs and dive sites, and the rate
includes all meals, drinks and water sports, including two dives a day and
sunset dhow cruises. Book by December 31. Costs from $755 a person, twin share.
andbeyond.com.
IRELAND
From fair Dublin to bustling Belfast, the 12-day Country
Roads of Ireland tour crosses borders, the Burren, Giant’s Causeway and the
Cliffs of Moher, for a broad-ranging exploration of an island whose influence
is disproportionate to its size. Save 5 per cent, up to $124, on bookings paid
in fully by April 30 on departure from April to October 2013. Costs from $2301
a person, twin share.  1300 237 886, insightvacations.com.
PERU & THE
AMAZON
Train it to Machu Picchu then sail through the Amazon. Is
there any more to life? This 13-day small-group tour sees you climb to the top
of Machu Picchu on the luxury Hiram Bingram train, visit the Sacred Valley of
the Incas and the home of their empire, Cuzco then dive into the Amazon on the
M/V Aria and local skiffs. Book by 21 April and they’ll include free travel
insurance, worth up to $660. Costs $11,695 a person, twin share. 1800 252 053,
billpeachjourneys.com.au.
TOURWATCH
The private jet is back: luxury tour operator Abercrombie
& Kent takes to the skies once again in a remodelled Boeing 737, with just 40
guests going on African safari by air. The journey traverses the continent, visiting
seven countries in 19 days, from the rock-cut churches of Ethiopia to the Cape.
A&K founder Geoffrey Kent will lead a three-day Serengeti safari, and the
group has exclusive use of luxury camps in Uganda’s jungle, treehouses in
Zambia, and there are private helicopter rides over Victoria Falls and feast in
the Namibian desert. The keywords are luxury, experience and exclusivity. The
adventure departs from Rome on March 2, 2014. Costs from $76,497 a person, twin
share. 1300 851 800,
abercrombiekent.com.au

Fabulous Fiji and hot air in Canberra: travel deals March 31, 2013

Walk through three countries in a week, blow hot air in Canberra or just lay down amidst beauty in Fiji, in this week’s international and domestic travel deals.

ACT
Celebrate Easter
in Canberra, making your own Easter egg with a Canberra Glasswork artist on
hand to help out at the Crowne Plaza Canberra. The hotel’s ‘Discover More’
offer cuts 20 per cent off the room rate and includes breakfast for two at its
recently refurbished restaurant.  Book
until April 28 for stays until April 30, quote ‘Discover More’. Costs from $165
a night, minimum two nights. 138 888, crowneplaza.com/discovermore.
QUEENSLAND
Long lunchers are heading to Port Douglas for its Carnivale (carnivale.com.au) in May 17-26, and the Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas’ ‘Longest Lunch’ on May 17.The three-course meal showcases local produce and all proceeds go to The Leukaemia Foundation. Fly to Port Douglas, stay seven nights in a deluxe garden view room and get over $1200 of bonuses including a room upgrade, two-for-one golf and $500 Wine & Dine credit. Book by April 12. Costs from $1590 a person, twin share. 1300 003 454, myholidaycentre.com.au.

TASMANIA
It’s starting to get chilly in Tassie: what better excuse than to try the state’s whiskeys? Stay three nights, pay for just two from April 1 to September 30 at Somerset Serviced Residences’ two properties. The apartments are on Salamanca Place and in a 1930s pier building overlooking the Derwent River and include full kitchens and separate bedrooms. Costs from $440. 1800 766 377, somerset.com.

NSW
Hilton Sydney
If you prefer your Easter eggs Benedict, rather than
chocolate, check in to the Hilton Sydney for a chic city weekend getaway, and
check out their refurbished guest rooms, the Marble Bar and the views from the
Zeta bar. The hotel’s ‘Treasure Moments’ deal 
cuts 20 per cent of their best available rate, and 20 per cent off its
brasserie breakfast for your eggs, however you like ‘em. Bookings must be made
five days in advance until April 30 for stays until December 31. Costs from
$208 a room. 1300 445 866, hilton.com.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Take
time to stop and smell the flowers on this seven-day Wildflower and Nature
expedition which includes a cruise to Woody Island in the Recherche Archipelago
off Esperance see the White Chested Sea Eagle and a visit to Cape Arid at the
edge of the Great Australian Bight. The tour is for just four people, hunting
for the elusive Queen of Sheba orchid and the endangered ground parrot.
Departs September 3 and October 4. Book four months in advance and save up to
$160. Costs from $4135 a person, twin share. (08) 93856422, www.countryescapes.com.au
BRITAIN
Start planning for your British summer jaunts and get a
free day’s travel on its trains when you book a BritRail travel pass by April
15. Tickets have six months’ validity from date of issue. Three-day
second-class tickets cost from $115/children, $185/youth travellers,
$225/adults. raileurope.com.au
EUROPEAN ALPS
Walk through three countries in one week, on the
seven-day Mont Blanc Guided Walk, an alpine tour through France, Italy and
Switzerland on the Mont Blanc massif. Bring a friend and save 20 per cent on
this trip and all UTrack’s Alps 2013 walking trips made between April 1-30. The
tour, which departs every Sunday until September 15, includes all meals,
accommodation, guides and mule baggage transfers. Costs from $798 a person. 1300 303 368, utracks.com.
FIJI
For luxury in the South Pacific, Fiji’s adults-only
Tadrai Island Resort, in the Mamanucas, comprises just five private villas.
Stay three nights and get a free one-way helicopter transfer, saving $538. Stay
five nights, and they’ll include return transfers. Costs from $4363 a couple,
three nights in a private pool villa which includes all meals and snacks,
butlers, delicious Pure Fiji toiletries and all resort activities such as sea
kayaking and diving. Book until July 16, travel between April 1, 2013 and March
31, 2014. +1 866 783 1840, tadrai.com.
CENTRAL AMERICA
This trip through Belize, Guatemala and Mexico promises
to teach you the essential differences between Mayans and Aztecs: Mayans made
their kids cross-eyed, Aztecs would eat their dead enemies when there was
nothing else on the table.  Get 15 per
cent off most Gecko trips including this one, a 23-day It’s worth the Human
Sacrifice trip. Save $644 when you book by April 12 for trips departing until
August 31, quote code ‘1360’. Costs from $1931 a person, twin share. 1300 791
47, geckosadventures.com.
CHINA
Kung fu, terracotta warriors and the Forbidden City are among
the highlights of Helen Wong’s 14-day China Wonders tour, which traverses the
country from Beijing’s hutongs to Shanghai’s glamorous Bund and the warriors’
home in Xian. Save $400 a person when you travel in the hot summer months, from
early June to late August. The package includes international airfares,
four-star accommodation, guides and visas. Book by May 31. Costs from $3650 a
person. 1300 788328, helenwongstours.com.
TOURWATCH
Champagne devotees will go back to the source in the
first tour through the famed French region lead by Australian ‘Champagne Dame’
Kyla Kirkpatrick. Kyla lives, breathes and works for the bubbled beverage, conducting
champagne masterclasses here and abroad. “This will be an intimate, red carpet
sojourn which will enable fellow champagne lovers to enjoy indulgent soirees
with the owners and winemakers,” she promises. The 12 guests will visit 15 prestigious
estates, many closed to the public while staying in the 17th-century Chateau de
Mairie. The tour starts in Paris on June 23 with a private champagne and
perfume masterclass, where you’ll receive a custom-made scent. Costs from $4990
a person, twin share, 0403 149 809, thechampagnedame.com.