Loving Mungo and Malaysia: travel deals 3 March 2013

Tiptoe through the tulips, snap up a bargain stay in Malaysia or go mad for Mungo in our own wilderness, at the edge of the Outback. (Ok, so this column is up a little bit late, but you never know when a bargain will strike!)


NEW SOUTH WALES
Wring the last out of summer with a quickie getaway to the far northern NSW coast, for great fish & chips and quiet, sandy beaches, just 20 minutes south of the Gold Coast airport. Save 20 per cent on stays at Peppers Salt Resort & Spa, Kingscliff, and get buffet breakfast, in-room movies and internet access thrown in on stays until September 10. Costs from $564 for three nights in a one-bedroom spa suite. 1300 987 600, peppers.com.au.

NORTHERN TERRITORY
The time poor don’t have to miss out on the beauties of the Top End: the five-day Mysterious North journey whisks you around the crown jewels, including Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks to swim in waterfalls and view Aboriginal rock art galleries. There’s also a cruise down Katherine Gorge and glamping at Wildman Wilderness Lodge to round up a perfect week away from the office. Save $105 when you book six months before departure; tours depart between May 12 and October 20. Costs from $2075 a person, twin share. 1800 467 747, inspiringjourneys.com.au

The Terrace Hotel, Perth

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

With Chanel now open on Perth’s King St and photographs from New York’s Museum of Modern Art showing in the Art Gallery of Western Australia, our western cousin is a sophisticate, indeed. Add to the mix a new boutique hotel, situated on St Georges Terrace in Perth’s happening West End. The elegant buildings of the Terrace Hotel were built in 1892, and the 15-suite hotel starts at $505 a night. Book the ‘Weekend Warrior’ and they’ll add a cocktail and full breakfast for stays on Friday and Saturday nights until April 1. Costs from $495 a night, (08) 9214 4444, terracehotelperth.com.au.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

The InterContinental Adelaide

Adelaide is celebrating all things
maritime with the arrival of the JMW Turner exhibition, Turner from the Tate,
showing until May 19. Book a Turner Art Package at the InterContinental
Adelaide and save $132. The offer includes one night’s accommodation, two
tickets to the exhibition, breakfast for two and 2pm check-out. The hotel,
which is a short walk from the Art Gallery of South Australia, can also arrange
VIP guided tours of the exhibition. 
Costs from $228 a night. 138 388, icadelaide.com.au

VICTORIA
On your bikes, girls, it’s time to explore the Victorian
High Country on a Girls Own Bicycle Adventure. Bring your own or hire one of
Snowy River Cycling’s mountain or hybrid bikes. The six-day tour starts and
finishes at Orbost, in East Gippsland, and covers up to 50km a day (depending
on terrain, weather and mood) staying in national park lodges and farmhouses.
Departs May 5 and includes a basic bike maintenance workshop and an op shop
frock night. Save 20 per cent, or $229, on bookings made by April 5. Costs
$1416 a person, twin share. 0428 556 088, snowyrivercycling.com.au.
The Baglionio, London
ENGLAND
An Italian hotel in London – how could you go wrong? And
it’s on sale too. Stay two nights for the price of one, making the Kensington
hotel, the Baglionio, an outrageous steal. There’s a two-night minimum, and the
offer is valid on deluxe rooms until April 1. Smith members also get a bottle
of prosecco into the deal as well: and it’s free to join. Costs from $462 for
two nights. 1300 896 627, mrandmrssmith.com.
MALAYSIA
Malaysia’s five-star hotels are fabulous, and fabulously
priced. The luxury Saujana Hotel in Kuala Lumpur includes an 18-hole championship
golf course and 260 hectares of tropical gardens. Snap up Malaysia Airlines
discount return flights and team up with a four-night stay at the Saujana. Book
by March 31 for travel until November 13, costs from $1057, or $753 flight
only.  directflights.com.au.
NETHERLANDS
A Dutch deal is hard to find, but the tulips are
plentiful on Outdoor Travel’s Bike & Barge tour through Holland in the
springtime. Highlights include the world’s biggest flower auction, happening Amsterdam,
Delft and a cheese farm in Gouda, as you bike in between cruising the serene
riverways on a 10-cabin craft. Non-cycling partners are welcome. Save up to
$300 per cabin on departures on April 7 and May 12 only. Costs from $1600 a
person, includes most meals and bike hire. 1800 331 582, outdoortravel.com.au.
CHINA
The best of China is on display over 21 days, from
Beijing to Hong Kong, with Xi’an, Shanghai and the Yangtze River in between.
The China in Depth tour is a hotpot of pandas, Sichuan cooking, Great Walls and limestone crags and
five-star accommodation includes the new Westin Xia and Fairmont Beijing.
Partners fly free from Australia on bookings made by March 31. Costs from
$10,420 a person, twin share.  1300
723 642, scenictours.com.au
JAPAN
Japan just got even cheaper, thanks to a strong Aussie dollar and 15 per cent off World Expeditions’ Japan trips, including its Family Explorer. There are bullet trains, geishas, wasabi farms and fish markets, folk villages and the neon madness of Tokyo on this 12-day trip. The discount applies on bookings made before March 31 for departures July 1 to December 31. Costs from $4,390 a person, twin share. $3746 for kids 6-11 years. 1300 720 000, worldexpeditions.com.

TOURWATCH Mungo
National Park
“I think Aussies are really interested in Mungo National
Park,” says Janine Duffy of Echidna Tours. “It’s like a cathedral of our
history, but we can’t quite understand it.” The ancient landscape of Mungo is
near the meeting place of the Murray and the Darling rivers, in far western
NSW: think out Broken Hill and Mildura way. The Mungo Outback Journey is a
private journey with guides from the local Paakantyi Tribe who spend three days
showing you the beauty of the desert, from brilliant parrots and fairy wrens to
extinct marsupials, and the
remnants of 50,000 years of Aboriginal history. Fly in to Mildura to pick up
the private three-day tour, staying at the pretty river town of Wentworth. Runs
from March to November. Costs from $1350 a person, (03) 9646 8249, echidnawalkabout.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.

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