The Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition opens
14 December, Canberra
You can can can in Canberra, oh yes you can. You can also go ethical in Melbourne’s Fed Square or go camel, houseboat or rickshaw riding in India, in this week’s international and Australian travel deals.
VICTORIA
Love it or hate it, Melbourne’s Federation Square is the
city’s centre. Check out Australia’s largest fair-trade and ethical festival,
Fair@Square, from November 30-December 2, then discover the world beyond the Square with a
Laneways of Melbourne tour. You’ll find tiny galleries, boutiques and some of
the world’s best street art, and snack along the way. The tour includes
chocolate, lunch and a goodies bag. Normally $69 a person, costs from $49 a
person until December 31, 2013 (excluding public holidays). 0407380969, meltours.com.au
TASMANIA
Eat regional food, breathe pure air: where else but our
own Tassie? Upcoming attractions on the island include the makeover of the
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and MONA FOMA, the music and art festival
curated by Brian Ritchie (ex Violent Femmes) from January 16-20, 2013. The
4-star Mercure Hadleys Hobart hotel is in the centre of the city, a National
Trust-listed building that dates from 1834. Book until November 30 for stays
until March 31, 2013. Costs from $112 a night. 1300 888 180, zuji.com.au .
AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
Work your frou-frou when the Moulin Rouge comes to
Canberra, at the National Gallery of Australia’s Toulouse-Lautrec
exhibition, which opens 14 December. French artist
Henri de
Toulouse-Lautrec painted the seamy side of fin
de siecle
Paris – and we’re not talking just stocking seams here. Stay at
the Mantra on Northbourne from December 14 – January 31, 2013 and they’ll
include the breakfast buffet and two adult tickets to the exhibition. Costs
from $199 until January 31, 131 517, mantra.com.au.
NSW
Concert goers and NRL
fiends have a new pad to stay at when they attend events at Sydney’s Olympic
Park with the opening of the new 4.5-star Quest at Sydney Olympic Park, which
has 140 studios, one, two and three bedroom options. Each has a fully equipped
kitchen and laundry, there’s an on-site gym and local restaurants are happy to
charge back to the hotel. Normally from $349 a night for a studio apartment,
snap up an opening rate until November 30 from $219. 1300 334 033, questatsydneyolympicpark.com.au.
QUEENSLAND
The Sunshine Coast hinterland is a hotbed of galleries,
cafes and boutique food, best discovered from the town of Montville. Stay three
nights at the couples-only 4.5-star Falls Rainforest Spa cottage, pay for just
two. You’ll also get a bottle of sparkling wine and cheese on arrival, as well
as breakfast daily, on stays until March 25, 2013 (Monday-Thursday, excludes
Christmas). Costs from $279 a person, twin share, three nights. 1800 044 066, travel-associates.com.au.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Perth marks the start of a tour of southern WA, through
Margaret River down to Cape Leeuwin lighthouse, Albany and Esperance before
turning inland to pan for gold and oogle Kalgoorlie’s Golden Superpit. The 9-day
Southern Wonders tour includes lunch showcasing the best indigenous ingredients
at Palandri winery and takes time to stop and smell the wildflowers. Save up to
$150 a person when you book and pay for six months in advance. Costs from $3009
a person, 1300 228 546, aatkings.com.au.
MACAU
Currently enjoying a hotel boom, Macau is great for a
flutter, and is also ramping up its cultural gems and family entertainment. Stay
in a deluxe king room at the new Conrad Macao, in Cotai Central, and get either
a room upgrade to a deluxe suite or a complementary buffet breakfast  – featuring Portuguese-inspired Macanese
cuisine – for each night of your stay. Costs from $236 a night. +853 8113 6055,
conradmacao.com.
FRANCE
The French Riviera hotspot of Cannes has been the star of the show, with
its film festival luring A-listers for decades. Fittingly, the InterContinental
Carlton Cannes hotels’ 39 suites are named after stars including Sean Connery,
Grace Kelly and Sharon Stone. The Belle Epoque hotel now turns 100 and the
hotel is having a party until March 31, 2013. Normally from $252, costs from $215
a night. 1800 007 697, ichotelsgroup.com.
FIJI
Sonaisali Island Resort, Fiji.
Schoolies alert! Sonaisali Island Resort is staging what
it describes as the ultimate schoolies week, with seven-night packages at half
price. The island has been chartered exclusively for schools for two weeks,
starting December 4 and December 11, and packages include return airfares,
transfers, all meals, activities, and nightly entertainment including DJs and
themed parties. There is extra security and an experienced crew who will meet
you at the airport, just 25 minutes away, and be on hand 24 hours a day. Save
$1000, costs from $999 a person. 1800 981 320, unleasedschoolies.com.au
THAILAND
The holistic heaven of Thailand is encapsulated in the
luxury health resort Chiva-Som, which is luring lovers of spa lusciousness with
bonus treatments between December 1-19. Stay five nights, receive seven spa
treatments, stay seven, get 10 treatments at the much-awarded resort, located
in Hua Hin, 185km south of Bangkok. Costs from $3400 a person, five nights.
1300 857 437, traveltheworld.com.au.
INDIA
Travel by camel in Shekhawati, by luxury houseboat on
Kerala’s backwaters, and by rickshaw in Jaipur on the 23-day Colours of
Mystical India tour. Journey through the southern states of Tamil Nadu and
Kerala, discovering the historic tradition maritime town of Kochi and the
French flavour of Pondicherry before heading north to Rajasthan, Delhi and
Agra. Book before March 31, 2013 and get free return flights to India with
Singapore Airlines. Costs from $12,995 a person, twin share. 1300 723 642,
scenictours.com.
TOURWATCH
Step into an unexplored world, just 500km north of
Australia, into West Timor. This new 14-day walking tour launches from Denpasar,
Bali, flying in to the West Timor capital, Kupang. Local guides will lead you
to old Dutch hill stations, markets and traditional farms, staying in local
hotels or thatch and bamboo homes in the villages, including, in one instance,
the royal family compound. The journey takes you from tropical beaches to
mountain villages, and local host Will Kadati helps with interactive
discussions with the West Timorese. Suitable for medium-level walkers, the trip
includes two days’ walking to the Biboki kingdom, discovering each region’s
unique textiles and crafts, cuisine and religions. Departs June 28, 2013. Costs
from $2865, per person, twin share, ex-Denpasar. 1300 783 188,
activetravel.com.au.
Source: Belinda Jackson, Sun Herald newspaper