Ubirr, Northern Territory

Make like Ellen on Hayman Island, air-cruise the continent on a private jet or hike to Everest’s back door in this week’s best domestic and international deals.


There’s more to Launceston than the beautiful Cataract
Gorge. Dear old Lonnie (as the locals call it) also has a sparkle in its step,
thanks to all the delicious sparkling wines sold at the cellar doors on the
nearby Tamar trail. Stay three nights in a deluxe room in the Hotel Grand
Chancellor Launceston and pay for just two, on stays until September 30. Costs
from $165 a person, twin share, three nights. 132 757, harveyworld.com.au.


Get the
best seat in the house for Sydney’s Vivid Festival, from May 24 – June 10, and save
20 percent at the five-star Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour. The hotel’s
guestrooms have some of the best views of the Harbour Bridge, which will be
splashed in light during the festival. Stay in a one-bedroom harbor view suite,
which includes its own balcony, and get a three-course dinner for two delivered
to your door and a bottle of Taittinger Champagne. The Vivid
Stay & Play package costs from $569 a night. (02) 9256 4000, pullmanhotels.com


Birks Harbour Boatshed, Goolwa, SA..

It’s about time the eastern states (as we’re known in
SA), turned our attention to the unsung Fleurieu Peninsula. It’s an hour south
of Adelaide, but budget a full afternoon if you travel via McLaren Vale’s
insanely good cellar doors (mclarenvale.info). Take a bottle back to your
boathouse accommodation on the water’s edge at the port town of Goolwa, a
serene retreat on the Murray River. Each of the three retreats sleeps two
people, and includes a gourmet brekky basket and a bottle of local wine. Stay
three nights, pay for two from June 1 – August 31. Costs from $590, three
nights. (08) 8555 0338, birksharbour.com.au.

Experience living like an international talk-show host
and do Hayman Island the Ellen DeGeneres way. The ellenTV Excape package
includes four nights’ accommodation for the price of three, an upgrade to a
deluxe room, beachside breakfasts and transfers from the airport on the
island’s glam white launch. There’s also a seaplane tour of the Whitsundays and
all the windsurfing, catamarans, golfing and island exploratory walks a celebrity
could wish for. Valid for stays until December 20, quote code ‘Ellen’. Costs
from $1705 a person, twin share. 1800 075 175, hayman.com.au.
All aboard the Great Australian Aircruise, a 12-day
journey by private plane from Sydney to Longreach into Kakadu and up to the
Kimberley, returning via Uluru, stopping at Australia’s most iconic country
towns, from Broome to Birdsville. Save $750 and they’ll also include
accommodation the night before at the Sir Stamford, airport transfers and breakfast,
a saving of up to $2000 per couple. The tour departs June 18, book and pay by
May 31. Costs from $11,595 a person, twin share. 1800 252 053,
Christchurch’s hotel scene is getting back on its feet,
with the re-opening of the Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch on May 1. Get 10
percent off the best available rate, with free internet and free local calls
until June 1. Or stay two nights and get 20 per cent off, otherwise stay three
nights and get 25 per cent off. Costs from $204.30 a night. 1800 088 888, rendezvoushotels.com/christchurch.
Malaysia has to be the ultimate shop-and-flop
destination: shop up the bargain-tastic malls of Kuala Lumpur then recuperate
on the beaches of Tioman Island at the Berjaya Tioman Resort, where the
bargains continue. The resort is offering six nights for the price of five,
with daily breakfast and flights from Kuala Lumpur. Book by May 31 for stays
till June 30, and from September 1 – October 31. Costs from $609 a person, twin
share. 1300 9393 414, flightcentre.com.au
See two faces of enigmatic Russia
when you absorb the hard-cash capitalism of racy Moscow with the genteel art
scene of its northern cousin, St Petersburg. Save five percent on the six-day
Russia Two Cities when booked by 31 May. Includes accommodation, breakfast and
rail transport between the two cities. The tour costs from $1214 a person, twin
share. 1800 221 712, bentours.com.au.

Help celebrate the 60th anniversary of Sir
Edmund Hillary’s ascent of Mount Everest with a 15-day trek in his footsteps to
Everest Base Camp. The trek reaches 5000 meters in the Himalayan foothills,
starting from the airstrip at Lukla. The price includes 12 nights’
accommodation in local tea houses, return local flights from Kathmandu to
Lukla, sherpas and an English-speaking guide. Book by June 15 for departures
until December 31, and save 10 percent. Costs from $1395 a person, twin share. 1300
021 123, myadventurestore.com.
Dreaming of a white Christmas? Slip Bing on the record
player and book your eight-day Bavaria & the Romantic Road tour, which runs
from December 2013 to March 2014 through the Rhine valley. Visit snowy
Neuschwanstein castle, medieval towns and see the Passion Play Oberammergau,
travelling quiet roads in mini-van comfort with a maximum of 15 guests. Save 10
per cent when booked by May 31. Costs from $2560 a person, twin share, excludes
international airfares. 1300 100 410, backroadstouring.com.au.
From the Silk Road markets of Kashgar to the Taklimakan
Desert, across the Aksai Chin plateau to Mt Everest’s North Base Camp in Tibet
(did you know there are two base camps?), this 28-day tour takes you far off
the beaten track into the wilds of western China and Tibet. The ‘Epic Dreams’
tour kicks off in Urumqi, in Xinjiang , and travels the highest road in the
world, the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway. Visit the ancient ruins of past kingdoms,
revered temples, see K2 as it hulks on the horizon and spy yak hurders’ camps
in the distance. The last stop is Chengdu’s panda reserve. The tour departs
August 20 and includes return international airfares with China Southern,
tipping and visas. Costs from $7634 a person, twin share. Wendy Wu Tours 1300
727 998, wendywutours.com.au.