Monday, 26 November 2007


26 November 2007


Book by December 14 but not take your Mediterranean cruise holiday
until any time between April 13 and November 23 next year, and will extend Early Booking discounts on weekly
sailings aboard the luxury Costa Concordia from Rome to Spain,
Tunisia, Malta, and back to Rome.

These 8-night packages include a night pre-cruise at the Crowne Plaza
St Peters in Rome, 7-nights onboard Costa Concordia with all meals,
entertainment, port taxes and onboard gratuities, and return air from
mainland capitals as well as Cairns, Coolangatta and Darwin; air taxes
applicable at time of booking are additional.

All Concordia's cruises visit Savona in Italy, Barcelona and Palma in
Spain, Tunis in Tunisia, La Valletta (Malta) and Palermo (Italy,) and
are priced from $2749pp twin-share with Early Bird Booking discounts
– and children up to 18 years cruise free, paying only port charges,
if sharing a cabin with two adults.

For full details phone 1300 369 848 or visit

COSTA Concordia is one of the largest ships in the Costa fleet at
112,000 tonnes, has five restaurants, thirteen bars, four pools (two
with retractable roofs,) 5 jacuzzis, a multi-purpose sports deck,
jogging track, and a Wellness Centre extending through two decks with
gym, Thalasso Pool, treatment rooms, sauna and steam room.

There's also a 3-deck high theatre, giant screen on the pool deck,
casino, disco, video arcade, and internet café and library.

Monday, 19 November 2007



Week beginning 19 November 2007

travellers good buys: with david ellis


AN 11-night tour of India With A Difference includes travel in
private vehicles with a dedicated guide, a stay in the luxury Amar
Villas while visiting the Taj Mahal, another at the 5-star Imperial
Hotel in Delhi and Taj Lake Palace at Udaipur, and one at the
all-suite hilltop Devi Garh Hotel. Highlights include the alleys and
markets of Old Delhi and by contrast modern New Delhi, the Taj, the
old desert town of Fatehpur Skri that was abandoned when its water
supply failed, the Pink City Jaipur, and an elephant ride up the
ramparts of the Amber Palace. Price starts from $5675pp twin-share
with breakfasts, private vehicle, guide and sightseeing; details from
Icon Holidays on 1300 853 953. Air is additional.

SAVINGS of between $400 and $1000 a couple are on offer from
Australian Pacific Touring for its 2008 tours in Western Australia
and Queensland. The offers apply to four tours in each program, and
in some instances to specific departures. As an example a 21-day
Perth-Darwin West Coast Discovery starts from $6795pp (normally
$7295) for select departures in March, April and October 2008, and a
13-day Sydney-Cairns Great Barrier Reef Small Group Island Wanderer
starts from $4795pp (normally $5295) for select departures in April,
June and December 2008. Bookings need to be made by February 28; see
travel agents, phone 1800 335 003 or visit
Airfares are extra.

A 23-day garden tour of Europe includes London's Chelsea Flower Show,
the Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam that are the world's largest
flower gardens, Claude Monet's House and Garden in Paris, garden
walks in Versailles, shopping in Paris, and sightseeing in London and
Wales. The tour that departs on May 1 2008 will be led by
horticulturist, Brian Sams from Toowoomba in Queensland. Prices start
from $9983pp including return air and taxes from mainland capitals,
twin-share, most meals, transport on tour, arriving transfers and
excursions. Details from Flight Centre Group Travel on 1300 737 441.

BRISBANE's dress-circle Terraces on Wickham has a current special of
$109 a night for a room in this peaceful near-city property that
overlooks the spectacular Roma Street Parklands. The hotel has a
Restaurant and Bar, pool, and 170 guest rooms that are being totally
renovated at a cost of $5m. For reservations call (07) 3831 6177 or

FICKLE Mother Nature: After having to cancel one of the most famous
downhill ski races on the World Cup circuit, the Hahnenkamn Race at
Kitzbuhel Resort in Austria last year because of a lack of snow, the
Resort this year has opened six weeks ahead of schedule – because
there's so much snow. It's the earliest in the Resort's 80-year
history that it's kicked-off the ski season in the first week of
November, and other European resorts are reporting equally good falls
to start the season. Package prices from Ski Max Qantas on 1300 136

TRUE: A guest asked at the Purser's Desk of a cruise ship in the
Mediterranean the whereabouts of "the coach doing the Capri Walking

Monday, 12 November 2007



Week beginning 12 November 2007

travellers good buys: with david ellis


IF shopping's not your go, but you've a special someone you want to give a special something, Accor Hotels has a Christmas Gift Card they can use towards stays in any of its ninety hotels and resorts Australia-wide. The Card can be bought for any value from $100 to $1000, and used in one go, or spread over a number of stays within a 12 months period, the cost of each stay deducted from the Card until the value is fully used. Cards are available by phoning (02) 9280 9764, online from and from most Post Offices.

TOURS of the Kremlin and the Hermitage Museum, and a cruise on the canals of St Petersburg are part of 9-day small-group packages of Russia priced from $3200 through Russia & Beyond in 2008. Twelve tours are scheduled between May and October, and a Winter Special on December 19, with accommodation in centrally-located western-managed hotels. The tours also visit Vladimir, Suzdal, and Sergiev Posad; hotels, most meals, coach and rail transport, gratuities to English-speaking guides are included. Air is extra. Phone 1300 363 554 or visit

ESCAPE to a 4-star luxury cottage at Tasmania's Greens Beach that sleeps up to four and is priced from $215 per night for 7-night stays between December 1 and June 30 2008. The cottage looks out to the mouth of the Tamar River, Low Head Lighthouse, Bass Strait and the Narawantapu National Park and is roughly an hour from Launceston Airport and Devonport Ferry Terminal; stays include a breakfast hamper on arrival that's stocked with local wood-smoked bacon, eggs, fresh brick-oven bread, Tamar Valley yoghurt, fruit preserves and cheeses. Guests also get two days free use of eco-friendly electric bikes or scooters to go exploring (no licence required.) Full details

A 5-star 40-day cruise aboard Prinsendam from Cape Town to Lisbon includes a dozen ports in South Africa, Reunion, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Kenya, Oman, Egypt, Spain and Portugal. The cruise departs on April 13 next year and is priced from $13,623pp twin-share including all onboard dining and entertainment; air is additional. Details from 1800 044 066 or

DON'T get stumped for a hotel room if you're planning on going to Melbourne for the traditional Boxing Day Test – Flight Centre Hotels has Superior Rooms from $147 per night and 1-bedroom city apartments from $269 per night. Phone 1800 005 125 or check-out for this and other deals.

TRUE: THE GUINNESS Book of Records has stripped Italy's Leaning Tower of Pisa of its title as the world's most out-of-kilter structure: its given the accolade to a church steeple in the German village of Suurhusen that leans at 5.07-degrees, compared with just 3.97-degrees for Pisa's famous Tower.

Monday, 5 November 2007



Week beginning 5 November 2007

travellers good buys: with david ellis


WRAP up the Christmas shopping with a shortbreak at the same time to
Norfolk Island's annual Christmas Shopfest from December 11 to 14.
Low tax-rates mean imported clothing, footwear, cosmetics, perfumes,
cameras, toys and even diamonds are cheaper there than in Australia,
and during Shopfest there's a further saving of at least 25 per cent.
As well those who fly with Norfolk Air and shop at the discount
Twilight Markets will earn shopping vouchers to the value of $100;
3-night fly/stay packages start from $789pp twin-share ex-Brisbane
and $849 ex-Sydney. Details 1800 111 653 or

THE laid-back village of Nelsons Bay on Port Stephens, just over
2-hours north of Sydney, is an ideal retreat for those looking to
fish, sea kayak, surf, scuba dive or spot dolphins and whales.
Between now and December 13, the exotic Bali at the Bay resort has
two 2-bedroom apartments from $235 per apartment per night –
including on the first morning breakfast with plunger coffee, fruit
juice, cereal, champagne and biscuits, dips and fresh fruit, and even
complimentary Bintang beer. Apartments have spas with gels and oils;
details on

PORT Vila's Erakor Island Resort & Spa has plenty to boast about: its
Chef Johnny Toara has been named Vanuatu Chef of the Year in the 3rd
Air Vanuatu National Salon Culinaire competition, and it's Lina Singo
the Junior Chef of the Year. More than seventy chefs took part in the
competition; see

GUESTS virtually have the Coral Sea lapping at their doorstep at the
Ellis Beach Oceanfront Bungalows 5-minutes from popular Palm Cove.
Prices start from $125 per night in a secluded bungalow with private
balcony, queen bed, ensuite, air-conditioning and TV, and there's
good access to the Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest; details 1800
005 125 or

A 10-day tour of South India by private air-conditioned car takes in
the extensive British Raj edifices in Chennai, the old trading port
of Kochi (Cochin) and a cruise through the Kerala backwaters. Price
from $1575pp includes twin-share, 9-breakfasts, one lunch,
English-speaking guides and entry fees. It operates all year from
Chennai, and finishes in Kochi; see travel agents, phone 1300 558 987
or see

CANADA'S Rocky Mountains snow season is expected to open this week,
with Australians continuing to be amongst the region's most
enthusiastic visitors: Australian company Ski Max says bookings from
here are up 20 per cent on just a few years ago, and with our dollar
at a 23-year high it expects even greater interest this year.
Fly/stay/ski details on 1300 136 997 or

TRUE: THE 63,000 people who live within the inner commune of the
300-odd islands that make-up Venice, endure 20-million visitors a