Varanasi, Indina

Meet the living goddess in Kathmandu or walk God’s own country on the Great Ocean Walk in this week’s best international and domestic travel deals:


Ski Thredbo and Perisher without the crush of commuters.
Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa is on the border of Kosciuszko National Park,
and 15 minutes from both skifields, with a free shuttle to Thredbo’s ski tube
daily. The resort is throwing in $100 credit to spend in its restaurants, 10
percent off ski hire, hot brekky, and use of all resort facilities. Costs from
$266 a person for two nights’ accommodation based on four sharing a two-bed
lakeview apartment. Stay before September 30, 1800 020 524,
North of Cairns and south of Cape Tribulation, with the
Daintree within cooee, Port Douglas has some pretty impressive neighbours. Take
a 4WD out for a bash, cruise the mangroves on a paddle boat or walk the
rainforests. Lazy options include hitting the spa or cranking up the barbie on
the rooftop terrace of Peppers Beach Club.  Stay four nights, pay for three in a spa suite
at the Mediterranean-style resort. For travel until September 12, costs from
$331 a night, minimum four nights, 1300 987 600,
Crank up
the action on Kangaroo Island with a Winter Family Pack for four people, which
includes a private two-hour quad tour for four people, from six years and up,
and one sandboard and one toboggan ride down KI’s sand dunes, Little Sahara.
They’ll even wax your bottom to make you slide faster. The bottom of your
board, that is. Save $103 until August 31, costs $559, (08) 8559 4296,
Stay at one of the most glamorous addresses in the state,
Empire Retreat and Spa, in Margaret River. With just 10 suites around a rustic
farmhouse and its famed day spa  and get a
gourmet hamper on arrival and $450 worth of spa treatments, as well as 15
percent off the nightly rate. Minimum stay two nights, book seven nights in
advance, until July 31. Costs from $1070 for two nights in a deluxe balcony
suite, 1300 896 627,


Loving being single? Celebrate your freedom with
Bothfeet, which has waived the single supplement on its four-day self-guided Great
Ocean Walk. The deal includes three nights in the four-star bothfeet sustainable
eco-retreat at Johanna Beach, all meals by the in-house chef, transfers, track
notes and a satellite tracking beacon. Those canny creatures at bothfeet have
also included a foot spa in the deal.  Book before July 31, costs $1325 a person,
1300 767 416,

Described as one of the world’s last true wildernesses
and boasting the purest air on earth, the Tarkine region contains the world’s
largest untouched rainforest. It is a highlight on the seven-day The Unknown
Wilderness through Tassie’s beautiful nature sites. Save $190 when you book
seven-day journey six months in advance, for travel between September 1 2012 –
August 31 2012. Costs from $3560 a person, twin share, 1800 467 747,

Bibliophilists staying in the Big Apple make for the four
boutique hotels of the Library Hotel Collection; #1 on Trip Advisor, The
Casablanca near Times Square, The Library Hotel on Madison Ave, the romantic
Manhattan Hotel Elysée, and the Art Moderne Hotel Giraffe on Park Avenue South.
The hotels are including breakfast, tea, coffee and snacks during the day,
daily wine and cheese reception, wi-fi and passes to the nearby New York Sports
Club, together worth $220 a night. Book by 31 July, get a box of Belgian
chocolates, a bottle of red and a novel. From $237 a night, +1 212 201 1155,
Reserve your slice of paradise on a private tropical
island off the Malaysian coast. Book a stay in a new Signature Villas Retreat
in the Pangkor Laut Resort and all meals, free spa treatments and a guided walk
through the two-million-year-old rainforests and Emerald Bay with the hotel’s
resident naturalist. For online bookings only until July 31, travel until
December 19. Save 44 percent, normally $994, now costs from $533 a room, a
night, 0011 800 9899 9999,

This four-day tour does a genteel trot through the
rolling countryside of the Cotswolds, 
before stopping in Bath, Stonehenge and popping in to see Windsor’s most
famous inhabitants. There’s old English ale to be drunk and late November and
December tours visit local Christmas markets. Book before July 31 and travel
before March 31 to score a 7.5 percent discount. Earlybird fares cost from
$1198 a person, twin share, 1300 100 410,
Watch the savannah plains pass your window on a 15-night
train journey on the Shongololo Express, from Johannesburg to Victoria Falls,
through South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. Book
by July 31 for 2013 earlybird discounts as well as two nights’ accommodation
before or after the journey, airport transfers, wine and off-rail activities.
The Southern Cross route departs six dates in 2013. Ivory class costs from
$4099, saving $1667 a person, 0402 251036,
The Kumari is the living Goddess, and her home is the
centre Kathmandu, in mystical Nepal. Pop in and say hi to the goddess on this
14-day tour of India and Nepal, visiting revered temples, stupas and shrines,
and maybe fly over Mt Everest, if your heart desires. Further south, play
chicken in Delhi’s traffic and pay homage to love at the Taj Mahal. Save up to
$551 a person on a Classical India with Nepal premium tour, departing 14
December.  Now costs $5099 a person, twin
share, 1300 237 886,

Hamilton Island is one of the Whitsundays’ most beloved
islands, yet 70 percent of it is national park. Whether you’re staying in the
super-luxe qualia or in the wallet-friendly Palm Bungalows, its new audio tours
will take you for a walk through the island’s history and botany, revealing
private beaches and top sunset-watching possies. Available in five languages, the
guides are a collaboration between a heritage writer and botanist, charting
Captain Cook’s journey through the Great Barrier Reef and chasing the island’s
beautiful blue butterflies. Download for free through Apple iTunes or stream
the Village Trail tour at
and You can even hire a pre-loaded tour on an iPod at
the Resort Centre or the Reef View Hotel.
Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald newspaper