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TRAVEL DEALS: 13 May 2012

The Sunlander


The South Australian icon, Coopers Brewing, turns 150
this year, and that’s a good enough reason to visit Adelaide. Save on
accommodation so you have more to spend on beer when you check in at the
centrally located four-star self-catering Franklin Central Apartments. Normally
$320 a night, the newly refurbished apartments now cost $130 a night until end
August, 1300 662 288, franklinapartments.com.au


Got a penchant for little aqua boxes? The Rendezvous Grand
Hotel Melbourne is giving away $50 gift vouchers for Tiffany & Co when you
book a Romance package at the heritage-listed five-star hotel on Flinders St.
Also included is a three-course dinner for two at The Grill restaurant, valet
parking and a buffet brekky the next morning for stays until December 30. Costs
from $385 per deluxe room per night, 1800 088 888, rendezvoushotels.com/mothersday

$$ NSW
you’re not a grey nomad yet, but there’s nothing stopping you joining the
annual migration north. Stop before you hit the border at Byron Bay. Your
address, of course, is the the lush, five-star digs of The Byron at Byron, for
daily yoga, beach walks and rainforest ramblings. Stay three or more nights and
get 10 percent off spa, bar and restaurant purchases. Standard suites normally
cost $390 a night, this winter deal costs $285 a room a night, 1300 554 362, thebyronatbyron.com.au
Do logs
have eyes? Play spot the croc in the Kakadu National Park, get down and jiggy
in Darwin, ogle Katherine Gorge and check out the Aboriginal rock art galleries
at Ubirr Rock on this four-day jaunt through the Top End. Save 25 percent, or
$276, on Intrepid Travel’s Total Top End tours departing 4, 11 and 13 June. Excludes
airfares to Darwin. Costs $829, 1300 018 871, intrepidtravel.com/trips/PISE#overview
You don’t have to go to Europe to experience great train
travel. Kids travel, eat, and get a free cruise in the Whitsundays as part of
Queensland Rail Travel’s Whitsundays Family Getaway. The package includes flights
from Sydney to Brisbane, overnight on The
train to Proserpine and four nights on Daydream Island Resort
& Spa. Freebies include a round of golf for the family and a half-day
Whitsundays cruise. Kids get a free one-way flight to Brisbane, free train and
boat, accommodation and meals. Book until May 31, travel until Sept 30, Costs
from $959 per adult, twin share, 1800 872 467, queenslandrailtravel.com.au
Bunker down in your luxury tent and listen to the shush
of the ocean and the quiet of Cape Range National Park, beside the World
Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef, where the whale sharks are playing until the end
of July. Just nine tents make up the luxury property Sal Salis, and packages
include all meals and drinks and daily snorkelling or kayaking trips and gorge
walks. Stay three nights, pay for two, saving $685 a person. Costs $1307 a
person for two nights, twin share, 1300 790 561, wildbushluxury.com 
Need a jungle or fantasy island? The Hawai’ian island of
Kauai’s movie credits include Jurassic Park
and its Wailua waterfalls are stars of the small screen. Stay at Kauai Beach Resort
and get a free car to explore its beaches, rivers and golf courses. Includes a
free upgrade to an Ocean View room. Travel until June 15, costs $180 a night, +1
888 805 3843 (toll free), kauaibeachresorthawaii.com
Beautiful Bali has shrugged off its reputation as a DVD
pirate’s heaven and home to Kuta’s sticky sinbins. Beautiful Uluwatu shares the
‘hood with the eye-wateringly glamorous Alila Villas Uluwatu. Normally $662++ a
night, its Spring Break deal includes a one-bedroom pool villa, in-villa
breakfast and dinner, 90-minute spa treatment for two and airport transfers
from USD$628++ a night. Travel until June 30, (+62) 361 848 2166, alilahotels.com

Watch Namibia’s hippos play and fish eagles hunt their
prey on a Chobe River cruise. It’s part of a seven-day safari of Zimbabwe and
Namibia, with three nights each at the luxe Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and Namibia’s
Chobe Savannah Lodge, and a cruise of the Zambezi River. Save $1850 when you
travel until June 30. Costs $1395 a person, 1300 195 873,
Hoa La was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th century,
and its monuments and temples survived to tell the city’s story. Visit Hoa La,
as well as Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh city and the Mekong Delta on Helen Wong
Tours’ special 25th anniversary tour of Vietnam. Prices include return flights
from Sydney. Book before May 31 for an extra $250 discount. Costs $2700 a
person, twin share, (02) 9267 7833, helenwongstours.com
$$$$$ ARCTIC
Get off the cruise ship and set foot and sleeping bag on Spitsbergen,
the biggest island in the Svalbard archipelago. Setting off from Longyearbyen, the
Sea Spirit takes up to 112 passengers around the islands, spotting walruses and
polar bears. Peregrine’s earlybird discounts cut 20 percent off nine Arctic
itineraries for 2013 including the 13-day Spitsbergen in Depth tour. Book by
June 29, normally $7690, now costs $6152, phone bookings only, 1300 854 500, peregrineadventures.com

Spitsbergen, Svalbad


May 2013 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the first
ascent of Mt Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay. Don’t you wish
you’d done it first? Raise a glass to those pioneers when you dine beneath the
stars at the spiritual centre of Thyangboche, at 3800 meters. The soundtrack
will be the stories by top Australian and US mountaineers of their Everest
experiences. World Expeditions wil run five anniversary treks departing from
Kathmandu in May 2013, graded from introductory to challenging. Trek lengths
and routes vary from 12 to 23 days, to the base camp, around remote passes or
the Gokyo Lakes. Includes all meals, internal flights, jackets and sleeping
bags, supported by a local leader, sherpas, cooks and porters. Costs from $2750
a person, 1300 720 000, worldexpeditions.com

Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald newspaper


Oaks Mons Komo
Clear the Brissy hustle and head to the beach at Oaks Mon
Komo, a brand new property overlooking Moreton Bay. Water babies note: it boasts
a glass-edge ocean-view pool, the popular Suttons Beach is just across the road
and there’s a restaurant, sports bar and gaming facilities on site. Opening
specials see apartments going for a quarter of their normal price. Costs $119
for a one-bedroom apartment (normally $393), $179 for a two-bedroom apartment
per night (normally $573), oakshotelsresorts.com
Who knew Launceston had a Paris End? Stay amongst the
majestic buildings of one of Australia’s oldest cities and pay nearly half
price at the 4.5-star Colonial Launceston. Book from May 21, rate includes breakfast,
free parking and movies. Cost from $118 a night, twinshare, 1300 130 485, travel.com.au
$$ NSW
English National Ballet comes to Sydney from 8-17 June, with 14 performances at
The Concourse in Chatswood. The program features Celebrations, a selection beloved classical pas de deux from Manon, Don Quixote, the Black Swan from Swan Lake and Trois Gnossiennes.Packages at the nearby Mantra Chatswood include
two premium tickets to the ballet, a bottle of wine and 1pm checkout. Costs
from $499, 131 517, mantra.com.au/ballet
$$ VIC
Napoleon is set to conquer Melbourne this winter as the
National Gallery of Victoria’s 2012 Winter Masterpiece Napoleon: Revolution to Empire, celebrates French life from the 1770s
to the 1820s. Stay at the four-star Crossley Hotel on Little Bourke St in the
city’s centre and get a free night on all three-night stays in a standard room.
Travel until September 22. Costs $354 a room for three nights, 138 833, sunloverholidays.com.au
$$$ NT
Tick the
Territory’s Big Three – Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon – off your
bucket list in one easy swoop, and take a mate for free.  Book an All three in the NT four-day short
break with AAT Kings and get the second airfare free. The tour includes an
Uluru sunset tour, walks in Kata Tjuta and Walpa Gorge and climbing in the
Kings Canyon, as well as three nights’ accommodation at Kings Canyon Resort and
the Outback Pioneer at Ayers Rock Resort, with guides and transfers. Travel
between April 17 – June 30, book by May 13. Airfares with Virgin Australia from
Sydney to Ayres Rock cost $466 for two seats. Tour costs from $799 a person,
see travel agents, 1300 228 546, aatkings.com.au
$$$$ SA
Linked to the mainland by a 30-minute flight, Kangaroo
Island’s best-known inhabitants are its namesake kangaroos, as well as seals
and sea lions. KI’s best-known address, the uber-luxurious Southern Ocean Lodge
has launched a cool-season package that saves up to $2800 a couple on
three-night stays. In addition, get upgraded to the next suite and receive a
$400 lodge credit to spend on an adventure, spa, wine room or boutique. Costs
$2499 for three nights, southernoceanlodge.com.au
Historical Le Marais, on
Paris’s Right Bank, is chockers with royal mansions, the Bastille, art
and Paris’s flourishing gay community. Of course, that’s where your apartment is, too.
This fully-furnished, petite one-bedroom sleeps two and comes with wifi and
breakfast basics. All you have to do is trot down to the boulangerie each
morning for yo
ur fresh
baguettes. Tres Parisie
n!  Save $38 a night when you book five nights,
until August 31. Costs $190 a night,
716 930, petiteparis.com.au 
Waterhouse, South Bund, Shanghai
Forget the mega-hotels that dominate Shanghai’s skyline:
boutique is best. The tiny Waterhouse at South Bund has just 19 rooms.
Architecture aficionados will recognise the work by Neri & Hu Design on the
1930s building, which has been welcomed into the Design Hotels family. Stay
three nights in a Bund, Terrace or River suite, pay for two. Includes breakfast
and a food & beverage credit. Costs from $885 for three nights, 0011 800
3746 8357, designhotels.com/the_waterhouse
Polish up your language skills in Europe’s roads – it may
not always be the most polite conversation, but self-drive holidays open up the
land of the locals, and polish your map-reading skills simultaneously. Winner!
Save $300 off car rentals when you book a family-sized Scenic Renault for 21
days or more. Book before May 16, collect by June 30. Includes unlimited
kilometres, insurance, GPS, with no excess and 24-hour roadside assistance.
Costs from $1599, 1300 551 160, renaulteurodrive.com.au
So you’ve got champagne tastes, but a beer budget?
Leaping from a helicopter to the pristine snow doesn’t have to break the bank. The
Queenstown Heli Shred package includes a full day’s heli-skiing, a week’s
accommodation, a day pass for Coronet Peak and The Remarkables, return flights and
lift pass for Treble Cone, drinks at Queenstown’s bars and some meals, saving
$250. Costs $1495 a person (dorm accommodation), $1895 a person (twin share), (03) 9017 1142, queenstownadventureholidays.com
$$$$$ KENYA &
See two million wilderbeest pouring over the rivers that
mark the border between Tanzania and Kenya, across the plains of the Serengeti
into the lands of the Masai Mara on their annual migration. It’s a
heartstopping spectacle of life, death, dust and glory. Snap up a last-minute
deal, saving 10 percent, on a 16-day escorted tour through the two countries’
famed national parks. Book by May 18, travel August 18. Costs $9915 a person,
twin share, 1300 363 302, africanwildlifesafaris.com.au
Capture the scents and tastes of India’s spice trade with
spicemeister Ian (Herbie) Hemphill. Herbie and his wife Liz are taking their
11th small-group tour to India to discover the spice trade and all its history,
mixing tourism and food. Herbie’s favourite places include Jaipur and its
markets and fascinating Deogarh, where you’ll stay in a maharajah’s palace. “We
also go down to South Cochin, to the heart of the world’s spice trade, where
cardamom and pepper are native to the area,” he says.  There’s also cooking classes in local homes,
because Aussies love to see how others live, he adds. Travel January 13-19, 2013.
Includes return air fares, all meals, accommodation, tours, tips and departure
taxes. Costs $9500 a person, (02) 9555 6035, herbies.com.au

Travel deals: 29 April 2012

Now’s the time to nip down to Tassie before winter sets
in, so you can rug up with all your chic woollies while you shop Hobart’s
Salamanca Markets and snack on Tassie’s famed scallop pies from the harbour’s
food vans. Stay at the Hobart
Mercure from $123 a night and get a $50 voucher to spend at the hotel’s
restaurants and bars – perhaps raid the Les Grand Vins wine list, which
features the island’s top wines. Book seven days in advance,
$$ VIC
An hour from Melbourne and you’re deep in the Yarra
Valley, with its wineries, golf clubs and Yering beach. Stay three nights at
Yering Gorge Cottages and get a free brekky basket each morning, which will
give you the energy to hit the cellar doors close by, including Domaine Chandon
and Yering Station winery. Book by 14 May, travel until 31 August. Costs from
$391 a person, twin share, qantas.com.au/victoria
$$$ QLD
Just 90km from Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast, Caloundra is
home to the Australia Zoo and the Ettamogah Pub, not to mention some pretty
mean surf and swimming beaches. The five-star Rumba Beach Resort, on Bulcock
Beach, gets rave reviews on Trip Advisor. It’s offering one free night when you
book a four-night stay, with a bottle of wine, bike hire and restaurant
discount. Costs from $660 for four nights, rumbaresort.com.au
$$$$ NSW
You may
be staying in the middle of the Hunter Valley, with all its temptations for
fabulous food and divine wine, but it’s all about you and your health when you
stay at the Golden Door – Elysia. Some may say life’s too short for no salt,
caffeine or alcohol, others say life is about early morning tai chi, country
walks, and truly beautiful, healthful food.  Book the health retreat’s seven day program
and pay for the price of five before 31 May. Normally $3700, pay $2840 a
person, elysia.com.au


High up on the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, the newest address
in the Kimberley is the Berkeley River. Accessible only by sea plane, an hour
from the nearest town, Wyndham, do not expect your phone to work. The hotel opened
on April 13, and its chalets feature 180 views. Opening specials save up to $90
per night, includes all meals, transfers from Kununurra, all activities
including fishing, 4WD tours, river cruises and bushwalking. Costs from $1307 a
night, travel.com.au

$$$$ SA

Skim the historic beauty of northern SA in a Pilatus PC12
on a two-day adventure that includes a stay in the outback Prairie Hotel and a
full-day air tour of Lake Eyre South, Innamincka and the Birdsville Track.
Highlights include Burke & Wills’ Dig tree and a flight over Wilpena Pound
and the Flinders Ranges. Departs most weekends from 19 May to end September. Was
$2999, now $2850 a person based on six travelling, includes a copy of the
luxury tome Australia in Style,

Smokin’ Bangkok’s
hotspot the Dome at the Lebua Tower is a rooftop restaurant and bar for lovers and
hipsters. Up the swank factor by staying in the Tower Club at Lebua hotel, with
club access and late check-out. Nobody needs to know you’re saving a whopping
80 percent. Get upgraded from a city to a river view suite on one-night stays.
Stay extra nights for an upgrade and airport transfers. Travel until 27
December. Normally $1400, costs $224, lebua.com
At the
northern tip of Indonesia, the best way to the white-sand beaches of Bintan
Island is by high-speed catamaran from Singapore. Save 15 percent on best
available rates and get a buffet breakfast when you book two weeknights
(Sun-Thurs) at the chic, five-star Angsana Bintan. Stay before June 30, costs
from $252 a room a night, angsana.com
So, what did you do today? Why, I zip-lined my way
through a cloud forest. Costa Rica’s Monteverde cloud forest has almost 3km of
treetop walkways and eight suspension bridges where you can spot the country’s
bizarre and beautiful animal and plantlife. Singles get a 10 percent discount,
or the second person scores 20 percent off. Book by 18 May, the 10-day Costa
Rica Family Adventure costs $1592 a person, twin share, worldexpeditions.com

Some of the world’s best shopping is
found in the souqs of Morocco, from butter-soft leather slippers to gorgeous
weaves. Book Trafalgar’s nine-day Best of Morocco First Class guided holiday 10
months ahead and save $105 a person, or save $70 when you book six months ahead.
Costs from $1350 a person, twin share. Trafalgar also has discounted winter
companion fares to London when booked with a 2012/13 itinerary. Book by July
31, travel Oct 1 – March 31 2013, trafalgar.com
Rudyard Kipling called NZ’s Milford Sound the eighth
wonder of the world, and rightfully so. The 15km fjord has rock walls up to 1.2km
high and is one of the star attractions on the Royal Tourer package, along with
the TranzAlpine train journey across the South Island, from Christchurch
over the Alps to Greymouth. Book 12 months ahead, save $1700 per couple.
Book by July 31, save $350 a person. Costs $5045 a person, see travel agents or
This is not a trip that you need hiking boots or gas
stoves – the streets of Los Angeles’ Rodeo Drive demand other privations, such
as killer heels and death-defyingly tight skirts.  This four-day tour takes you through
Hollywood’s most famous shopping strip and goes celeb-spotting around the mansions
of the stars. Includes accommodation at the Andaz West Hollywood hotel on
Sunset Strip, and a hop-on, hop-off double decker tour. For more celeb-chasing,
add a TMZ Hollywood Tour for $70, a Universal Studios VIP Experience from $286
or a J Paul Getty Museum and Movie Star Homes tour from $105 a person. Book
before May 31, travel between Sept 1 – Dec 31. Costs from $672 a person, twin
share, travel-associates.com.au

Source: Sun Herald www.smh.com.au 



Cradle Mountain, APT Tours.


Surf, swim or shipwreck hunt, Kangaroo Island’s beaches cater for all
comers, including the white-sand Vivonne Bay, often considered Australia’s best
beach. With jetties begging you to drop a line over, and farmers markets on the
first Sunday of the month, SA’s beloved island does winter beautifully. Knock
25 percent off your room rate at the 4-star Kangaroo Island Seafront Resort
from April 22. From $180 a night, 1300 130 485, travel.com.au


You don’t have to head to the far north to revel in Queensland’s island
culture. Morton Island is just over an hour from Brisbane’s CBD where you can
4WD, fish and dive wrecks to your heart’s content. Castaways Moreton Island lets
you save $120 between May 1-31. Costs $430 including two night’s accommodation
for two and transfers from the MiCat ferry, (07) 3909 3333, moretonislandadventures.com.au/specials


The well-heeled Melbourne suburb of Prahran and its none-too-shabby
neighbour South Yarra are enjoying a restaurant renaissance, with notable
dining rooms recently opened by George Calombaris (Mama Baba) and the Reymond family
(Bistro Gitan). Stay amidst them at The Cullen, one of Melbourne’s three
ArtSeries hotels. The Cullen celebrates the work of contemporary artist Adam
Cullen and was recently voted the city’s coolest pad. Book a studio suite seven
days in advance and pay $358, 1800 002 333, wego.com.au/deals

$$ WA

Kick back and learn about life from Mandurah’s most famous tourists, the
dolphins and whales that visit this cruisy town in southern WA. The 4.5-star
Seashells Mandurah sits right on the beach at Comet Bay, and is geared up for
both couples and families. Pay for two, get the third night and a bottle of
wine free when you travel before May 4. Costs from $836 for three nights, twin
share, 1300 551
669, needtoescape.com.au

$$$ NSW

You don’t have to go overseas for extreme luxury – in fact, you don’t
even have to leave the state. Three hours from Sydney, the Wolgan Valley Resort
& Spa is set on 4000 acres, with just 40 individual suites that look over
the national parks of the Blue Mountains, for the last word in eco-luxe. Stay
three nights, pay for two between April 1 and June 30, with three gourmet meals
daily and two nature-based activities each day including wildlife spotting,
horse riding and mountain biking. From $1950 a person, twin share, (02) 9290
9733, wolganvalley.com

$$$$ TAS

The reward for hiking Tassie’s great Overland Track is a dip in the freezing
Lake St Clair, the deepest lake in Australia. Or, you can dip your toes in and
nip back onto a warm luxury coach –  far more civilised! Travel at last
year’s prices with APT’s 12-day Royal Tasman tour, saving $225 a person if
booked before July 31 for departures after September. Includes accommodation,
meals, cruises and entrance fees across the southern island’s beauty spots including
Gordon River, Russell Falls, Freycinet National Park and Port Arthur. Costs
$4470 a person, see travel agents, 1300 229 804, aptouring.com.au

Sofitel So Bangkok’s uniforms
by Christian Lacroix.



With fashion guru Christian Lacroix at the design helm, it’s no wonder the
Sofitel So Bangkok is such a lush affair. Set beside Lumpini Park, the
two-month-old hotel includes a chocolate deli, Chocolab! Stay four nights, pay
for three on stays until May 20, and enjoy a decadent 4pm check-out and fruit
basket or flowers to celebrate the diva you really are. From $137 a night, 1300
884 400, sofitel.com


Aaah, New York, New York, so good they named it twice. Splash your cash on a
show in the nearby theatre district when you save up to 30 percent on Big Apple
hotel rooms during May and June. The three-star Amsterdam Court Hotel, in the
heart of the action in Midtown West, costs $235 a night, (02) 9037 0397, worldwideholidays.com.au

Ulusaba Private Game


If it’s good enough for Virgin’s Richard Branson, Ulusaba Private Game
Reserve is good enough for us. Butting up against Kruger National Park, you can
be sure to tick off the Big Five during your twice-daily game drives and walks.
There’s no roughing it, the champagne’s on ice and the spa will soothe any
nerves. Stay four nights, pay for three until July 31. Costs from $1707 for
four nights, virtuoso.com.au


Photographers should make a beeline for Egypt while its normally roaring
tourism industry is in a lull and the sites are relatively empty. Two can
travel for the price of one on Icon Holiday’s nine-day Treasures of the Nile,
which includes four nights in Cairo and four on the Nile. Applies to Friday
arrivals only, on sale until August 31 for travel to September 7. Costs $3125
for two people, twin share, 1300 853 953, iconjourneys.com


The Festival of the Tooth isn’t a dentist’s convention, it’s a wild
celebration of the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha arriving in Sri Lanka in
the fourth century. One of the world’s great festivals, Perehara mixes
slow-moving elephants with whip crackers, drummers and fire throwers who parade
the streets of Kandy. This 15-day small group tour visits rock fortresses,
ancient Buddhist shrines, hill towns and tea plantations. Book before April 30
for a July 25 departure to save $250 a person. Costs $6209 (ex-Sydney), 1300
363 302, naturalfocussafaris.com.au


Pull out all the stops this Christmas with the works: snow-clad mountains,
hot spiced drinks, festive markets and hotels that could be cut from a
gingerbread mould.  Albatross Tours’ eight-day package whisks you away to
spend the season in a timber chalet-style hotel the Swiss Alps, exploring the
lakes and cities of Luzern and Bern by Switzerland’s alpine trains. With access
to great walking trails, medieval cobbled stone
streets and some of the world’s best skiing, this is an unescorted tour
designed to let you do the exploring. The package includes most meals including
Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas lunch. Costs $1579 a person, twin share,
1300 135 015, albatrosstours.com.au

See more at smh.com.au/travel

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