Monday, 16 July 2007


YOUR WEEKLY TRAVEL COLUMN "travellers good buys"


Week beginning 16 July 2007

travel tips: with david ellis


VISITORS to Sydney seeking the ultimate add-on coastal escape can get three nights for the price of two mid-week until August 31 at the boutique Kims Beach Hideaway just over an hour's drive north of the city; quiet and private bungalows tucked away amid sub-tropical gardens under the pines a few steps from Toowoon Bay, are complemented with gourmet dining, an extensive wine list and Kims' renowned evening cheese platters. Three-nights-for-two from Sundays to Thursdays priced from $1196 per couple includes all lavish buffet lunches and dinners featuring fresh local seafoods, full Australian breakfasts, pre-dinner hors d'oeuvres nightly and free DVD hire. Details (02) 4332 1566 or

PAY before July 30 but travel any time up to December 7, and river- cruise company Russia & Beyond has savings of $1300 a couple on a choice of 20 itineraries in Europe, Russia and China that range from 7- to 15-nights. Examples are 7-nights on the Danube from Passau to Vienna down to as low as $1101pp if booked by July 30, or 11-nights Berlin to Prague from $2428pp twin-share; details from 1300 363 544 or

TRAIN yourself to enjoy the best of rail travel with the super-luxury Royal Scotsman that offers 2- to 7-night train journeys out of Edinburgh. It doesn't come cheap, starting from $4667pp twin-share for 2-nights, but for true rail buffs it's the ultimate with just 36-guests indulging in mahogany-lined cabins with private bathrooms, all grand dining, drinks from the bars and with meals, visits to castles and distilleries, and at the end of the day a rare malt whisky in the Edwardian Observation Car. The train overnights in sidings so guests enjoy a peaceful sleep; see travel agents or check-out

THIS year's annual Sydney Marathon on September 23 is expected to attract 13,000 runners, with tens of thousands of spectators watching from the sidelines; has a range of accommodation from budget-to-best still available for the Marathon weekend, starting from $62 per night for a double room at Nomads Maze Backpackers to $265 a night at the Sydney Marriott Hotel. Phone 1800 002 333 or log onto

UNCORK the fun with a NSW Hunter Valley Experience for wine buffs that from $337pp mid-week ($351 Friday or Saturday) includes 2-nights twin-share in a Studio Room at the 4.5-star Tallawanta Lodge with full breakfast, a half-day wine tour and entry to Hunter Valley Gardens; the Lodge has an open fire in the library, heated pool, spa and sauna and is walking distance to many Hunter Valley Wineries; travel agents, 1300 737 222 or visit

TRUE: A hotel in northern Russia is attracting drinkers during the bitter northern winter that's due in a few months time, with the offer of free reindeer parking.