See Tokyo in style and go warp-drive in Sri Lanka: travel deals 10 February 2013

Click on for Mark Jensen’s bbq octopus recipe, Noosa Food & Wine, Qld.
Beautiful people eating beautiful food: it’s Noosa in a nutshell come this May. Otherwise, Tokyo in style and knowing your warp and weft in Sri Lanka, in this week’s domestic and international travel deals.

QUEENSLAND
Foodies will flock to Noosa from May 16-19 for the 10th Noosa International Food & Wine festival. Highlights
include Edible Music, which sees musicians and chefs combined, degustation
dinners, sunset concerts and a new Barefoot beach marquee for cocktail
competitions and a seafood feast. Tickets cost from $40, which include
celebrity chef cooking demos and live entertainment, up to $330 for a Weekend
Gold Pass, which includes cocktail parties and preferential concert seating.
Book before April 1 and save 10 per cent discount (excluding some events and
the Platinum Experience). (07) 5455 4455, noosafoodandwine.com.au.
VICTORIA
“Autumn is a delightful time to escape into our wonderful alpine landscape, with epic sunsets and soft meadows filled with wildflowers,” says Alan Fenner of ParkTrek. The highlight of the ‘Alpine High Plains’ wfour-day walk (March 23-26) is a trek along the Razorback from Mt Hotham to Mt Feathertop. Team it up with the four-day ‘Easter in the Victorian Alps’ walk (March 29 – April 1), which criss-crosses the high country, visiting historical huts, staying at a ski lodge in Falls Creek. Walks are graded easy to medium, averaging 12-16km daily. Book both trips and save $120. Costs $2080 a person for two trips, includes meals, accommodation and guides (03) 9877 9540, parktrek.com.

TASMANIA
Tassie is girding its
loins for the island’s international arts festival, Ten Days on the Island,
coming up on March 15-24 (tendaysontheisland.com). Get in early and hook
yourself some seriously swank digs, at the beautiful Villa Howden, 15
minute drive from Hobart on the shores of North West Bay. Comprising 10 luxury suites looking over the bay,
the setting is serene,  with wi-fi,
Australian cosmetics, full breakfast and in-suite bar included. Stay two
nights, get a third free, saving a cool $420. Book and stay by March 28. Costs
from $840 for three nights. (03) 6267 1161, villahowden.com.au.
  
WESTERN
AUSTRALIA
Start planning for WA’s wildflower season, which carpets the state in a rich
tapestry from June to November. Outback Spirit’s 15-day Western Wildflower
Discovery tour traverses the state’s riches, from Monkey Mia and the Shark Bay
Marina to wildlife sanctuaries as well as those beautiful stretches of native
wildflowers. Tours depart in September and October, book by February 28 and fly
Sydney-Perth return for just $199. Costs from $5595 a person, twin share. 1800
688 222, outbackspirittours.com.au.
Shangri-La Tokyo
TOKYO
Get to grips with Tokyo in style, with the Shangri-La Hotel’s new package, which sees you skipping about town in a private limo. Hotel stays usually cost from $740 a night, but the two-night ‘Explore Tokyo in Style’ package lets you snap your fingers and have the car whisk you on a tour, to the airport or just to take you shopping, until June 30. Costs from $1500, two nights. 1800 222 448, www.shangri-la.com/jp.

ITALY
Feel the rails rocking beneath you on the night journey from Paris to Rome. The Thello night trains travel up to 180km/hour and travel between Paris, Milan, Venice and now Rome with both six-berth couchette and first-class sleepers available. Book seven days in advance and save up to 50 per cent. Seats are limited, so get in early.  Costs from $52 a person in a six-berth couchette. 1300 387 245, internationalrail.com.au.

USA
Get the true taste of Creole with a cooking school that
unravels the cuisine of the Deep South, with its French, Spanish, Portuguese,
Italian and Native American influences. There’s also a tour of the Jack Daniels
distillery and dinner in a Natchez mansion on this 10-day Tastes & Sounds
of the South tour. The tours depart between May 2 and October 31. Book six
months ahead and save $119. Costs from $2256 a person, twin share. 1300 663
043, trafalgar.com.
CANADA
Recovered from Christmas? It’s time to start planning for
next year, with a Canadian White Christmas tour. Have Christmas Day brunch at
Lake Louise followed by a ride in a horse-drawn sleigh, train through The
Rockies, visit the snow haven of Whistler and a take gondola ride at Banff.  Departs December 16. Book by April 30, save
up to $500 a person. Costs from $6495 a person, twin share. 1300 278 278, aptouring.com.au.
MALAYSIA
Bargain hunters love Malaysia, not only for the shopping, but also for the good value on its accommodation. The Villa Samadhi is a sleek, 21-room contemporary Asian residence brimming with pools, thatch roofs and Asian antiques in central Kuala Lumpur. Stay two nights at the Relais & Chateaux property before February 28, get dinner and airport transfers and $173 off. Costs from $566 a villa, two nights. 1800 667731, globalhotelsmarketing.com.

TOURWATCH: SRI LANKA
One of this year’s hot spots, the attention on Sri Lanka
is justly deserved for its spectacular beaches, lush landscapes and intriguing
culture. Textiles aficionados have the chance to explore the island’s textiles
history, from lace to embroidery, batik and handloomed cloth.  The tour is led by Melbourne embroidery
artist Cresside Colette, originally from Colombo. Highlights include private
textiles collections, weaving villages and lace workshops, as well as the
island’s main tourist sites and there’s plenty of opportunity to shop its busy
markets, with Active Travel’s wise shoppers by your side. The tour departs May
6-17. Costs from $3874 a person, twin share (excludes airfares). (02) 6249
6122, activetravel.com.au.

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.

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