From the top of Australia to top drops of Australia: travel deals 28 October 2012

Petra, Jordan.

Visit the tippy-top of Australia, hang with Lawrence of Arabia’s mates in Wadi Rum or raise a glass in Wineglass Bay or the Barossa.

TASMANIA
Wineglass Bay is often listed as one of the world’s top
10 remote beaches, paying homage to its perfect crescent of white sand. Visitors
here are more likely to move on four legs, or hop on two, such is the solitude
of the Freycinet peninsula. Freycinet Lodge is offering 50 per cent off on
stays until December 20, with brekky thrown in. Costs from $113.50 a person,
quote code PT004. 1800 420 155, puretasmania.com.au.
VICTORIA
The limestone stacks that make up the 12 Apostles (psst:
there are actually only eight) are the main reason to stop in Port Campbell, a
bustling village on the Great Ocean Road, about 290km from Melbourne. The new
Anchors Port Campbell is perched on a cliff overlooking the dramatic coastline.
Stay two nights and save $160, which includes a Heytesbury Ridge tasting
hamper, featuring the best local food and wine. Costs $495 for two nights in a
self-contained unit. 0417 434 400, anchorsportcampbell.com.au.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
The Barossa Valley’s original homesteads are beautiful
bluestone, and those at Jacobs Creek Retreat, Moorooroo Park, date from 1840.
Stay midweek at one of its five self-contained suites and pay less than half
price. Expect rose gardens, antique furnishings and sunken spa tubs. You’ll
also get a cooked breakfast, local cheese tasting plate, homemade fudge and a
bottle of wine on stays until November 29. Costs from $340 a night. 1300 130 483, travel.com.au.
NSW
Escape to the Blue Mountains midweek to recharge those
drained batteries and save 15 per cent. Choose from Mountain Whispers’ four
luxury cottages, which can accommodate two couples, and get two nights’
accommodation, two bottles of wine, handmade chocolates, port, breakfast
supplies and $35 toward dinner prepared by an inhouse chef. Book by November 30
for stays until March 31, 2013, Mondays – Thursdays. Costs from $816 for two
couples, for two nights. 0430 496 755, mountainwhispers.com.au.
SOUTHERN AUSTRALIA
Truly a great southern land, this 10-day Country and
Coast coach tour visits Australian icons, from sheep stations to Parliament
House, Kosciuszko National Park and Kangaroo Island on its route from Sydney to
Adelaide. There’s also fine regional food and wine, an Aboriginal cultural
experience and sea lions to be spotted. Save up to 5 per cent when you book and
pay six months in advance, valid on departures until December 3, 2013. Costs
from $3075 a person, twin share. aatkings.com.au.
The top of Oz, Cape York, Queensland
QUEENSLAND
The first European expedition to Cape York, at the most
northern point of mainland Australia, was devastatingly unsuccessful, with just
three of 13 men surviving. Happily, while the landscape is still as ruggedly
beautiful, the 12-day journey is far more pleasant, exploring old gold mining
towns, Bloomfield Falls and cruise across Endeavour Strait to visit Thursday
Island by 4WD. Book the Cooktown & Cape York tour before December 31 to
save $350. Includes a cruise on the Daintree River and an excursion with indigenous
Guurrbi Tours. Costs from $6645 a person, twin share. 1300 229 804, aptouring.com.au.
SWITZERLAND
Europe’s budget design hotels come to Switzerland, with
the 25Hours Hotel in Zurich opening on November 8. Zurich is a business town,
so deals are to be had on weekend stays. Normally from $278 weekdays, $185 weekends,
the hotel’s introductory offer costs from $225 weekdays and $153 weekends. A
member of Design Hotels, book from November 1 for stays until January 31, 2013.
+41 43 243 63 10, 25hours-hotels.com/zurich
or myswitzerland.com.
FIJI
Sonaisali
Island is just 25 minutes from Fiji’s Nadi international airport, and boasts
the full monty: white sandy beaches, palm trees, hammocks, and hey, look at
that kids’ club! Stay three nights at Sonaisali Island Resort and pay half
price, which still includes daily breakfast, free kids’ meals, airport
transfers and a jungle cruise. Water activities, including windsurfing and
Hobie cats, are also free. Book until November 15 for travel until June 15,
2013. Costs from $272 a person. 1300 883 887, travelonline.com.
USA
Vale, Colorado.
Colorado’s not just for celebrities: kids get the
five-star treatment at Keystone Resort, 90 miles from Denver airport. Any kids
under 12, staying two nights or more, can ski or snowboard for free the entire
season, from November 2 until April 8, 2013, with no blackout dates. The
resort’s accommodation options range from luxury hotel rooms to self-contained
apartments, there are family private lessons and the new snowboard park is
designed for boarders from 3-6 years, with the motto, “if they can walk, they can ride”.
keystoneresort.com
ITALY
The Colosseum, Vatican pomp, ancient catacombs and Italian fashion: four reasons to slip the
word amore, into your vocabulary. Your Roman holiday includes
seven nights’ accommodation in a three-star hotel within walking distance from
the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps, and return economy flights with Emirates,
departing from Sydney. Book before November 30, travel between February 1 –
October 31, 2013. Add on a Dubai stopover from $44. Costs from $2500 a person. 
1300 787 858, newhorizons.com.au.
UK
& IRELAND
Mt Stewart House, Co Down, Northern Ireland
Tour the premier gardens of the UK and Ireland, including
the 18th-century Mount Stewart House and Gardens in County Down,
Northern Ireland and Wales’
Bodnant House and Garden and Chirk Castle,
built in 1295. Toursgallery is giving away 12 months’ National Trust membership
to all tour guests on its 22-day tour departing July 20, 2013. Costs from $9988
a person, land only.
1300 307 317, toursgallery.com.
TOURWATCH
In the midst of the desert, there is life, as English
garden designer Paul Hervey-Brookes demonstrates on this 10-day tour through
the Kingdom of Jordan. Green thumbs will already know Hervey-Brookes won gold
at this year’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show for his ‘Discover Jordan Garden’. He’ll help you explore some of the country’s
2500 plant species in the Dibeen Forest, learn about Bedouin medicinal plants
and discover the quiet beauty of the desert flora of Wadi Rum, a favoured haunt
of Lawrence of Arabia. There’s also a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens and,
of course, the rock city of Petra and the ruins of its desert castles. Departs
from the capital, Amman, on April 18, 2013 and includes accommodation, guides
and some meals. Costs from $3212 a person, twin share. 1300 836 764, coxandkings.com.au.

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad, and occasionally I chat on radio, too, from Essentials Magazine to 3AW or the Irish Times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *