Champagne free-flow on sale! Travel deals: 12 August 2012



Tadrai Island Resort, Fiji

Get classy in Britain, test the champagne free-flow in Langkawi or slip into something comfortable in the Kimberley.
TASMANIA
Some of the world’s most pure air blows through Strahan,
a fishing village on the west coast of Tassie. Base yourself here to cruise the
Gordon River, catch the West Coast Wilderness Railway or to taste the divine
wine and cheese that results from such purity. Book a hilltop
standard room at the Strahan Village and pay half price until
September 30. Costs from $55 a person a night, twin share.1800
420 155, strahanvillage.com.au

VICTORIA

The seaside town of Queenscliff, an hour from Melbourne,
grooves to the tunes of the Blues Train, a steam train that shakes, rattles and
rolls over the rails to Drysdale and back, serving up dinner and a blues show.
The ‘D’ carriage is for dancing and there’s a bar on board, too. Stay two
nights at the Big4 Beacon Resort and get two tickets to the train, worth $185, transfers
to the train, a recovery brekky hamper and noon checkout. Costs from $272.50 a
person for two nights, twin share, 1800 351 152, beaconresort.com.au.
Tickets are also cut from $92.50 to $50 during August and September. 132 849, ticketek.com.au.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Get a bird’s-eye view of the Red Centre with a balloon
flight over Alice Springs and its dramatic surrounds. Stay two nights at the
four-star Crowne Plaza Alice Springs and get upgraded to a Mountain View room
and a 30-minute balloon flight. Kids under 19 stay free, pay $209 for
ballooning. Book by 3pm October 5, stay until October 12. Costs from $439 an
adult. 1300 130 485, travel.com.au.

NSW

Families can discover the heart of Sydney when they book
a premier room for four nights, and pay for just three at the five-star Sydney Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel. The
hotel will also throw in a family pass to Taronga Zoo and free internet.  Book before January 31, stay now until
September 30, December 16-24, 2012 and January 2-31, 2013. Costs from $1074 per
family (2 adults +2 kids) for four nights. 1800 044 066, travel-associates.com.au.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The quiet, fern-lined pools of Zebedee Hot Springs, on El
Questro cattle station, are the most ecologically sound spa you’ll ever
encounter. Soak it up in between outback hikes, bush-bashing down the Gibb
River Road, ogling crocs in Windjana Gorge, exploring the Bungle Bungles and
ancient caves on this nine-day Wild Kimberley tour. Accom is a mix of permanent
tents and al fresco camping. Was $2195, save 20 percent on September 11
departure. Book by September 7, costs $1756 a person. 1800 018 871, intrepidtravel.com.

Snorkelling at Orpheus Island, Queensland

QUEENSLAND

The secretive hideaway of Orpheus Island, off the coast
of Townsville, is sheer island luxury. Stay five nights, pay four, saving $1400
a couple. The package includes sensational meals from the kitchen of Cheong
Liew protégé Arie Prabowo, selected wines and beers, use of dinghies, cats, and
snorkelling equipment as well as a daily nature-based experience, be it a
sunset cruise, fishing or island tour. Stay till January 21, including the
Christmas period. Costs from $5600 for two people. (07) 4777 7377,
orpheus.com.au.

MALAYSIA

Oh, they know how we like it, at the Datai Langkawi. The
grand dame of Langkawi is cutting 25 percent off its regular rates with a
stay-three, pay-four deal until December 19, and includes daily breakfast with champagne
on free-flow.  Accommodation is a deluxe
or superior villa and also included are limo transfers, a private dinner on the
beach for two, 120 minutes of spa treatment per person, a mangrove tour and guided
nature walk. Costs from $2338 for four nights. +60 4 959 2500 www.dataihotels.com



The Datai Langkawi, Malaysia

UNITED KINGDOM

Sometimes, a bit of class doesn’t go astray, especially
when you’re upgraded from standard to lovely first class. Buy a BritRail Flexi
Pass for four or eight days by August 30 through International Rail and get a
free upgrade to first class when you use the pass any time in 2013, travelling
through England, Scotland and Wales. Costs from $355 for a four-day pass. 1300
387 245, internationalrail.com.au.

JAPAN

If you can’t get enough of winter, now’s the time to
think about the Christmas ski season. Ski Hakuba and stay just 150 meters from
the ski lifts at High Mount Hotel. The deal includes breakfast and a six-day
lift pass. Book by 3pm September 28, travel December 14-29, January 3 – April
30.  Costs from $1099 a person, twin
share for seven nights. 1300 130 485, travel.com.au.  

Innsbruck, Austria

AUSTRIA

The capital of the Alps, Innsbruck, has city breaks
including a three-night stay in a four-star hotel and a 48-hour Innsbruck Card,
worth E35, with E227 value. Includes a guided walk through the medieval town, rides
on seven cable cars, a sightseeing bus tour, entrance to museums including the
Ambras Castle, Swarovski crystal museum, a cocktail at the town’s casino, and
there’s coffee and cake in the clouds, at the Alpenlounge Seegrube restaurant.
Costs E219 (A$256) a person, twin share, for three nights. +43 512 56 2000, innsbruck-packages.com.

FIJI

The new adults-only Tadrai Island Resort is sleek and
chic, with the Mamanuca islands’
signature white sand beaches. Includes champagne on arrival, all meals, drinks
and butler services. Stay seven nights and get one return flight from Australia
to Nadi with Air Pacific, stay 10 nights and they’ll give you two international
return flights. Book by September 11, travel until December 16. Costs $10,077
(two people, seven nights) or $14,399 (two people, 10 nights). (07) 5524 5222, tadrai.com.

TOURWATCH: Lord
Howe Island

When you breathe your next yoga breath, your lungs are
filled with the pure air of Lord Howe Island during this wellness retreat with
yoga teacher Charlotte Dodson. You may have spotted her recently teaching Lara
Bingle, and other radiant celebrity followers include model Miranda Kerr and
fashion designer Kit Willow. Pinetrees
Spring Wellness Retreat’s six-night packages include two daily yoga sessions
with Charlotte, daily fitness sessions, wholefood cooking classes, organic
gardening classes and wine tasting (that’s organic wine, of course!) Ayurvedic spa treatments are also available and then
there are the island’s everyday charms – snorkelling, swimming, kayaking and
mountain climbing. Runs from September 3-7 and November 17-23.  Costs from $1270 a person twin share
(excluding airfares). (02) 9262 6585, pinetrees.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, and occasionally I chat on radio, too, from Essentials Magazine to 3AW or the Irish Times.

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