Midnight marathons and trekking in Bhutan: travel deals 19 August

Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa, Maldives

Midnight marathons, trekking in Bhutan and the London Design Festival; great international and domestic travel deals.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
The great thing about Adelaide is the wineries on its
city fringe including the granddaddy of them all, Penfolds’ Magill Estate,
where you can stop for a drop or dinner. Book two nights at the Oaks iStay Precinct,
in the centre of Adelaide, and get an upgrade to a one-bedroom, fully
self-contained sky view apartment with free parking. Costs from $119 a night,
two night minimum. Book by August 31, stay by September 30.  1300 721 514, oakshotelsresorts.com.au.

VICTORIA

Footy fever is about to hit Melbourne in earnest, when
the AFL grand final wraps up in September. Stay at Melbourne’s designer sports
hotel, the Middle Park Hotel, and they’ll serve up a pre-footy frothy, a
counter meal by the city’s top meat man, chef Paul Wilson, and a gourmet brekky
to set you to rights, the next morning. The Finals Fever package is available
throughout September. Save $49, costs $209 a night for two people. (03) 9690
1958, middleparkhotel.com.au


Skyview apartment, Oaks iStay Precinct, Adelaide

TASMANIA

With snowy Mt Wellington overlooking Hobart, it may be
cold, but it’ll always be picturesque. A destination in its own right, the
harbourside Henry Jones Hotel has been a jam factory and a whaling station and its
current reincarnation is as a sleek art hotel. Stay until September 30, save 28
per cent on your room rate. Costs from $234 a night (standard room) or $328
(deluxe spa harbour view room). 1800
420 555, thehenryjones.com.au.

QUEENSLAND

Far North
Queensland is one of the best vantage points to view the total solar eclipse
that will take place around 14 November, when the sun is completely blocked by
the moon. Stay at Peppers Beach Club & Spa in Palm Cove, and save 20 per
cent on your room. Book until September 9, stay from November 12-15. Costs from
$1530 for three nights in a lagoon spa room, includes breakfast for two daily.
1300 737 444, peppers.com.au

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Just 170km south of Darwin is one of Australia’s natural
gems:  Kakadu National Park. Explore the
eerily beautiful landscapes, from croc rivers to ancient galleries of
Aboriginal rock art, and the floodplains spread below you at Ubirr. The
three-day Kakadu and Litchfield small group tour includes 4WD transport, guide
and a stay at the Wildman Wilderness Lodge. Book before September 7, travel
from August 31-November 3 and get $600 toward your airfares. Costs $1559 a
person, twin share, land only. 1800 228 546, aatkings.com.au.

15th annual midnight run, Bangkok

THAILANDTake to Bangkok’s streets at night, when the temps are
cool and the traffic’s taken a breather, with the 15th annual charity
midnight run, to be held on October 20. Runners in the 6km and 12km races will
raise money for local causes. Stay two nights at the Amari Watergate, get two tickets
to the marathon (worth $11 apiece), an upgrade to a Grand Deluxe room, free
wifi, 2pm checkout and 20 per cent off spa treatments and food. Costs $347 a room
for two nights. +66 (0) 2653 9000, amari.com.

BHUTAN

Trek to Taktshang Monastery, 900 meters above the valley floor, where it’s said Buddhism came to the Land of the Thunder Dragon. Gay tourism operator Gay Globe will lead a 10-day tour of the Kingdom of Bhutan from January 5, 2013, exploring the cultural and natural aspects of this secretive land. Book before September 30 and save 10 per cent. Includes accommodation, meals and private guides. Costs from $2691 a person. (02) 8005 1690, gayglobe.com.au


VIETNAM
Chen Sea Resort & Spa, Phy Quoc, Vietnam

Detox in style at the four-star Chen Sea Resort & Spa Phu Quoc, on the
southern holiday island of Phu Quoc. The deal, valid until September 30,
includes an hour-long Vietnamese massage for two people, daily breakfast, a
three-course lunch or dinner for two, free meditation and private tai chi
classes. Costs from USD$552 for four nights. +662 101 1234, centarahotelsresorts.com

ENGLAND
Glowing London is still hot, post-games, with the London
Design Festival (September 17-23) the next cab off the rank. Get in on the good
vibes and stay five nights in a Falconers two bedroom suite at the five-star 51
Buckingham Gate, a Taj hotel. Stay until September 30 and save 20 per cent,
that’s $1339. Costs from $3495 for five nights. (02) 9331 9000, tajhotels.com.

MALDIVES

Have the kids been good? Treat them with a holiday in the
Maldives. The Anantara Dhigu Resort & Spa is every kid’s dream, with one
Dining by Design dinner, a dolphin cruise, unlimited ice cream (for genuine kids
only!), babysitting, kid’s cooking classes and seaplane airport transfers. 
For travel until January 9. Costs from $5368 for two adults and two children
under 12, for four nights. +66 (0) 2365 7500, anantara.com.

TOURWATCH

Singapore sizzles to the sound of smokin’ engines from
September 21-23 when the 2012 Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix hits town.
It’s not all about crazy cars, the entertainment includes Katy Perry, Noel
Gallagher and Maroon 5. If you’re an 80s tragic, Bananarama, The Proclaimers
and The Pretenders are also strutting the stages. A three-day Premier Walkabout
ticket costs around $115 a day with access to all zones, singaporegp.sg.  Or stay in four-star accommodation and get
transfers, breakfast and a three-day Grandstand ticket. Costs from $892 a
person, four nights. 1300 747 400, creativeholidays.com.
 
Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald

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.

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