Get going: dreams can come true

Daydream Island



Lie back on Daydream Island and save $180 on a four-night
stay until April 30. Includes return ferry transfers from the Great
Barrier Reef airport and water sports. Kids under 14 stay and eat free.
From $598 a person, twin share. Phone 1800 075 040, see


Save up to 40 per cent on a Balinese holiday until March 31.
Staying in the three-star Centra Taum Seminyak, get breakfast, Wi-Fi and
a pool-view room on Seminyak’s hippest street, Petitenget. From $274 a
person, twin share, seven nights. Phone 1800 359 769, see


Ayers Rock Resort, NT


Stay at the Ayers Rock Resort on April 24-27 and get free
entry to the inaugural Tjungu festival celebrating indigenous culture,
breakfast, airport transfers and kids under 15 stay and eat free. Quote
“Tjungu”. From $326 a person, twin share. Phone 1300 134 004, see


Book two nights at The Rees Hotel, Queenstown, on April
25-27, save 20 per cent and get tickets to the town’s first Blues &
Roots festival on April 26. Includes a jet boat ride down the Kawarau
River, breakfast and late checkout. From $866 a couple. Phone +64 3450 1100, see

Lake Crackenback
Resort & Spa, NSW Snowy Mountains



Sick of summer? Plan a winter escape at Lake Crackenback
Resort & Spa in the Snowy Mountains and save $226. Stay five nights
with breakfast daily, three dinners and ski hire and spa discounts, June
6 to October 6. From $1629, two adults, five nights. Phone 1800 020 524, see


Pay just $19 for kids under 9 to stay and eat free when you
book five nights in four-star accommodation in Vanuatu. Book by March 17
for stays April 26 to June 27, July 15 to September 21, October 8 to
December 19. Adults from $655, five nights. Phone 1300 301 711, see

Top tastes

Discover the best of West Australian produce with a
seven-day Paddock to Plate tour through Margaret River and beyond.
Unearth truffles in Manjimup, take a chef’s masterclass in Denmark,
dine from a long table in a wheat paddock and shop at the Albany
Farmers’ Market. The tour departs June 24. From $4945 a person, twin
share. Phone 0429 385 642, see



The Gold Coast’s Paradise Resort – voted Holidays with Kids’
2013 best family resort in Australia – teams up with Dreamworld and
WhiteWater World to offer a stay-and-play package. Stay five nights at
the resort, with its new ice-skating rink and waterpark, and get a
three-day family pass to the two theme parks, four hours of kids club
each day and discount vouchers, saving up to $640. Available until
December 24, 2014, from $995 a room, five nights. Phone 1800 074 111, see

Sustainable Melbourne

EDIT: I am very pleased to note that this feature, originally published in Honda Magazine, has won the Australian Society of Travel Writers’ 2014 award for Best Responsible Tourism feature.

Little Hunter, 195 Little Collins St, Melbourne

can be a guilty pleasure for the green-minded, but Melbourne shows how to blend
ecology and exploration without stinting on the good times, discovers Belinda

clothes with karma, vintage clothing is the classic sustainable fashion option:
what goes around, comes around.  Forget
fusty, Melbourne’s top shops yield fabulous finds. Check out one of Australia’s
largest vintage stores, Retrostar,
in the equally vintage Nicholas Building (1st floor, Nicholas Building,
37 Swanston St), while Shag finds all its clothing in
Melbourne (Centreway Arcade) and Circa
has fashion dating from the Victorian era (1st Floor, Mitchell House, 358 Lonsdale St). 
Serious hunters, book your spot on a Melbourne Op Shop tour (0421 431 2780421 431 278,
Don’t want to wear clothes made by small children or
workers in life-threatening factories? Melbourne’s Etiko sources eco-friendly range of footwear and clothing from
owner co-ops in Argentina and Pakistani micro-businesses, so you can look good
outside and feel good inside. Shop online or see for stockists.
Lisa Gorman designs
You can go green with current fashion: each season, top
Melbourne designer Lisa Gorman releases her gorman organic range, which uses organic and sustainably produced
fabrics produced without pesticides or with non-chemical processing (GPO Melbourne, Bourke
St Mall,
Out of the CBD grid, make like a Melburnian and jump a
tram for the fashion label, shop and café that is Social Studio for limited-edition garments handmade from reclaimed
and up-cycled material (126-128 Smith St, Collingwood,  On Saturdays, dig for handmade treasures at
the artists’ haven of Rose Street
(60 Rose St, Fitzroy).
You know organic
and sustainable production are on trend when the quest takes you to some of the
city’s top tables, including Vue de
, for its salt-cured wallaby (Level 55, Rialto, 525 Collins St) and the signature smoked trout broth at Attica,
recently voted number 21 in the world’s top restaurants (74 Glen Eira Rd,
Ripponlea). Even old-school can go new school, as Italian dining staple Cecconi’s has demonstrated, becoming
the first restaurant to compost its food waste through the Closed Loop system:
the compost is used to grow vegetables on its Bellarine Peninsula farm (61
Flinders La).
Head underground to a recent Melbourne edition, Little Hunter, tucked away beneath city
streets, and order up on beef from the remote Tasmanian locations of Cape Grim and Robbin
Island or tiny Chatham Island’s Blue Cod with seagrasses.
Chef Gavin Baker sources all produces from farmers committed to organic
production and humane treatment (downstairs, 195 Little Collins St)
Melbourne’s café
scene is justly famous: check out the winner of the 2012 Tourism Victoria
Sustainability award, Silo by Joost, a
café that doesn’t have garbage bin. Everything is recycled, renewed or
composted, including the bench you’re sitting at (123 Hardware St, 03 9600
0588). Meanwhile, newcomer Dukes
Coffee Roasters
is pushing toward a carbon-neutrality with its emphasis on
minimising waste and off-set power, with organic and ethically produced
products. What does that mean for you? Seriously fine coffee (247 Flinders La).
And shoppers at Melbourne Central can grab a cuppa at social enterprise STREAT Café, which has so far trained
60 young homeless and at-risk kids into a hospitality career (Cnr Elizabeth
& La Trobe St and 5 McKillop St).
Kinfolk cafe, 673 Bourke St, Melbourne
Kinfolk is a rare bird: it is environmentally sustainable and also socially
responsible, its staff training volunteers to run serve local, organic,
good-tasting food. A private enterprise by young entrepreneur Jarrod Briffa,
its high overheads are eased by the generosity of its patrons: coffee is
donated by crop-to-cup pioneers Di Bella, while meat is from renowned Barossa
organic producer Saskia Beer (673 Bourke St).

finally, self-caterers can find local produce at Queen Victoria Markets, which also has a section devoted to organic
fresh fruit and vegies (513 Elizabeth St).
A night
on the town can also be good for your conscience when you start (or end) with a
drink at Shebeen, Australia’s first
not-for-profit bar. All profits go back to the countries where their drinks are
sourced: think Chilean wines, Sri Lankan beer, South African cider, (36
Manchester Lane).
Melbourne is also a playground for ‘green’ brewers. Pope Joan pours beers from Victorian independent
breweries such as Victoria’s Secret Hoppy Wheat Beer from North Melbourne and
Moondog ‘Love Tap’ Double Lager from Abbotsford (77 Nicholson St, Brunswick
East). Get on your bike into the Mountain
Goat Brewery
for real beer and pizza (Wednesdays & Fridays, 80 North
St, Richmond) or tram it to Monkey  for local, organic and biodynamic wine, beer and
cheese (181 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North).
Alto on Bourke hotel

Take a walking tour of the
city to orientate yourself (1300 311 0811300 311 081,
and uncover the city’s vivid street art scene (03 9328 555603 9328 5556, or to get under the city’s skin, through its literature and laneways
(0407 380 9690407 380 969, Hit the shops with hunters of high quirk
(03 9663 335803 9663 3358, or discover the city’s Aboriginal heart
(03 8622 260003 8622 2600,


Alto on Bourke is Australia’s first carbon-neutral hotel
and winner of domestic and international sustainability awards. The 4-star
hotel uses 100 per cent renewable energy, harvests its rainwater, recycles and
uses energy-efficient cars. There are even beehives on the roof, as part of
Melbourne’s rooftop honey project: see the results on the breakfast buffet
alongside the fairtrade coffee ( There are 50 hotel rooms from petites to
three-bedroom apartments with full kitchenettes, employing the best environmentally
aware technology including LED lighting, low-water showerheads and an electric
Goget hire car on site, with free parking for all hybrid cars  (1800 135 1231800 135 123,

The best start to a green escape is to offset your airline flight, which
costs around $2 per flight. Melbourne’s CBD grid is a walker’s paradise: you
can cross the city by foot in about 20 minutes. Otherwise, it’s a short tram or
bus ride: the red Number 86 City Circle
does free tours, as does the Melbourne
Shuttle Bus
(131 638, If you need a car, consider a green car, which can be hired by the
hour from $15 (try,
or or go
luxe with an eco-limo ( Melbourne
Bike Share
hires bike for 30 minutes for free (1300 71 5901300 71 590,

Keep a day free for the 2014 Sustainable Living Festival,
held annually in Melbourne. Expect fabulous fashion, thoughtful thinktanks,
green markets, gardening and art. Now on until 23 February, 2014,
This article was published in Honda magazine. 

Travel deals: Free Fiji



Stay eight nights at the five-star Outrigger on the Lagoon
with return airfares, $600 resort credit, butler service, spa treatment
and kids stay and eat free, saving $2000. Book by February 28; travel
until March 31. Worth $2790, from $1990 a person. Phone 1300 003 454, see

Be one of the first to stay in the newly refurbished
apartments and suites of Seahaven Noosa, set between Hastings Street and
the beachfront. Save $25 a night, with 2pm checkout, on stays until
March 30. From $175 a night, studio. Phone (07) 5447 3422, see



Book a historic mansion in Marais, five minutes’ walk from
the Musee Picasso, and save $70 a night. The large guest suite of
Apartment 268 includes a private terrace and breakfast served by your
Parisian host. Costs from $272 a night, double, until March 30. See


Cosy up in a country cottage in Hall and pay half price until
July 31. Book two nights at the 4.5-star Gooromon Park Cottages and get
champagne and chocolates, breakfast and Wi-Fi. From $380, two nights,
quote “Elegance” or “Silhouette”. Phone 1300 88 7979, see



Just 15 minutes from Angkor Wat’s temples, the new 30-room
Angkor Heritage Boutique hotel’s opening special cuts 35 per cent off
room rates until September 30. From $86 a night, includes breakfast,
Wi-Fi and airport transfers. Phone 855 63 966 660, see


Book a 19-day West Coast Discovery Tour from Darwin to Perth
by March 31 to get discounts and your friend flies free. Discover
Litchfield, Kakadu and Monkey Mia. Departs July 9, August 6 and 27. From
$7395 a person, twin share. Phone 1300 383 747, see

TOURWATCH: Top End angling
Snap up a fishy tale in the Top End as luxury lodge Bamurru
Plains transforms into a fishing lodge until April 28, with metre-long
barramundi up for grabs. Three hours from Darwin on the NT’s Mary River floodplains,
cast a line from Bamurru’s airboats with fishing guides. The
all-inclusive eco-camp has nine safari suites, operates on a
catch-and-release ethos and includes all meals, drinks and fishing
tours. From $2350 a person, twin share, three nights. Phone 1300 790 561. See

KIDS’ DEALS: In the zone


Kids run the show at the new Cool Zones and Adventure Zones
in 11 Asia-Pacific Shangri-La properties including Kerry Hotel, Beijing,
which has just completed a $6.5 million renovation. Its Adventure Zone
has three slides including the Demon Drop, net towers, ball pits, a
wading pool and village complete with dress-ups for toddlers, free for
kids four to 12 years. (Psst, parents! The hotel’s new wine bar opens
June 2014.) Deluxe rooms cost from $274 plus taxes; see

This column by Belinda Jackson was published in the Sun-Herald newspaper. 

Get going: Cable Beach Resort

Cable Beach, WA.

Go west, to where camels roam the beaches and French champagne comes on ice. Yes, it’s Broome. Or ski Japan, swank up to the Gold Coast or take a textiles tour through England and France. You know you want to, with this week’s international and domestic travel deals.



Get away in February to Pinctada Cable Beach Resort in Broome
and save $200. Book a Honjin courtyard suite for two nights and get
French champagne, chocolates, bath oils and airport transfers. Costs
$528, two nights. Phone (08) 9193 8388, see

Catch the last of Hakuba’s snow season with mates and save up
to 40 per cent staying at The Lab’s six-share dorms. Five-day lift
pass, breakfast daily and airport transfers. From $670 for seven nights.
Phone (02) 9905 6162, see


Stay three nights at Disney’s Hollywood Hotel and get one
ticket to Disneyland Hong Kong and airport transfers. Book by March 17
for travel May 4-17, May 14, Aug 31-Sep 13. $619 adults, $95 children
two to nine years. Phone 1300 301 711, see

QT Gold Coast


Glam up on the Gold Coast at QT Gold Coast with a room
upgrade to an ocean-view king room, free breakfast, discounts in the spa
and midday checkout. Book by March 15 for travel until March 31. From
$229 a person, two nights, twin share. Phone 1300 019 130, see



Book your London stay by February 28 and stay six nights for
the price of five, or 12 nights for 10 at Citadines “London Apart”
hotels in five locations including Trafalgar Square. For stays April
1-August 31. From $341 a night. See


Go bush in style at El Questro Homestead. Stay four nights,
pay for three when booked before February 28 for travel April 1-October
25. From $5907 a room, three nights, includes meals, transfers from
Kununurra, some tours. Phone 1300 863 248, see

Citadines London ‘Apart’



Join tapestry artist Cresside Collette on a journey from
London to Aubusson discovering mediaeval tapestries, artists’ studios
and a four-day workshop at the Manoir du Bost. There’s also a daytrip to
weaving heartland Aubusson. The tour, from September 1-20, is $6699 a
person, twin share. Phone 03 9557 5898, see

This column by Belinda Jackson was published in the Sun-Herald newspaper. 

Deals: relaxation on a Malaysian vacation

Giraffe Manor, Kenya

Breakfast with well-mannered giraffes in Kenya, motor across the USA, sleep like a king in Malaysia… what’s your mood this week? 

On the home front, it’s freshwater lakes on Fraser Island, going remote up at the Kimberley’s Faraway Bay or exploring Kakadu in all its green glory.

Modelled on a 17th-century Malay palace, the recently
refreshed Tanjon Jara Resort is on Malaysia’s east coast. Normally from
$350 a night, costs from $276 including all meals until March 31,
minimum two nights.
Take a dip in pristine freshwater lakes or swim in the Coral
Sea on Fraser Island. Save $126 on a two-night stay at Eurong Beach
Resort, with vehicle barge transfers included (normally $106), until
April 17. From $310 for two nights, quote “summer days”. 1800 111 808,


Motor across the USA with Apollo motorhomes.

Motor in the US for up to 18 days for the cost of fuel only
in an Apollo Motorhome from March 31-April 5, May 6-9 and June 2-6. Pick
up from Forest City, Iowa, and relocate to four cities, including Las
Vegas and San Francisco. April travellers also get $US500 ($570) towards
fuel. 1800 777 779,
Book two nights in a club room in the new Rendezvous Hotel
Singapore by March 16 and save 30 per cent. Included is the mini bar,
internet, airport lounge access, airport transfers and a city tour. From
$185 a night.

Go on safari for five nights at Sala’s Camp, Sasaab or Solio
Lodge and get one night free at the Giraffe Manor, outside Nairobi. Book
by February 28, stay until December 15 (excluding June 1-October 31).
From $503 a person a night, +254 (020) 502 0888,
Stay at the Kimberley’s Faraway Bay and save 20 per cent with
a free night in Kununurra or Darwin until April 30. Book by February
28, from $3464 a person three nights, includes meals, tours and flights
ex-Kununurra. 0419 918 953,

Ancient Athens

Explore the archaeology and culture of Athens, from the
crowd-pleasing Acropolis and the Agorato to Marathon, the shrines of
mysterious cults and the isle of Aigina in the Saronic Gulf.
Promenade Plaka, the city’s Old Town. The walking tour, led
by two archaeologists, also explores the city’s best museums and its
top tables, and your five-star accommodation looks out to the Acropolis.
The tour runs June 1-8, 2014. Costs $4210 a person, twin share. See


Explore art caves, spot wildlife and
watch the sun set with the kids over a remarkable, remote slice of Australia. Kakadu
is glowing green right now, and kids under 12 stay and eat free at the Gagudju
Crocodile Hotel. Stay three, pay for just two nights and get half-price Yellow
Water cruises and other tour discounts until February 28. The hotel is 3.5
hours’ drive from Darwin on sealed roads and up to two kids can share their
parents’ room. Costs $300 a room, three nights, 1800 500 401,


This column by Belinda Jackson was published in Sydney’s Sun-Herald newspaper.