Monday, 3 November 2008

Nothing like a train journey


By John Crook 

Nothing like a train journey

This one travels through five countries departing April 9 2009.  It's the 21-day Silk Road experience. Moscow to Beijing.   Cost for a silver class room, including accommodation with private en-suite and all meals from onboard chefs, private bar car, sightseeing guides, local transport and return transfers,  is from $28,454 per person twin share.  The journey can also be taken westbound from Beijing on April 12.  Contact 1300 363 554 or visit 

New services ex Brisbane to Bali

Starting December 14, Garuda Indonesia is allowing children under 12 to travel free.  The offer includes free Australian government taxes and free fuel surcharges.  So any child up to 11 years of age, accompanied by two full fare paying adults, on year round fares, qualify.  The offer does not apply to passengers travelling on special promotional fares in 'B' and 'Q' subclasses.   The promotion is valid for passengers in economy and executive classes, travelling between December 14 2008 and January 31 2009, including Christmas. To check on conditions and payment requirements, telephone 1300 365 331.

Complimentary rail transfers

It is worth checking on how you can access one of the world's best short train crossings in the world.  I refer to the extension of the complimentary transfer service which includes pickup and drop off at the TranzAlpine railway station and Huntley House.  The other option is to do the transfer in a luxurious Mercedes Benz 8-seater people mover.  Either option takes you to paradise and to Christchurch's boutique Huntley House, a member of Select Hotels and Resorts International.  Check it out by emailing or telephone (02) 8969 3900 

UK August and the Tattoo

If your travel plans have you in the UK in August 2009 avoid the fight to book accommodation and instead, sail from Dover to Edinburgh, making the classic Saga Ruby your 'Edinburgh hotel.'  It is a four-night mini-cruise departing Dover August 24.  Entry to the Tattoo is included in the price which also features all onboard dining, classic English afternoon teas daily, West End style entertainment each night, late release movies and dancing to a live band.  Telephone 1800 225 656 for your nearest   Price is from a reasonable $1,435 per person, twin share Cruiseco cruise specialist. 

India by private car

Here's the opportunity to tour north and south India on a 33-day Grand Indian Panorama package.  Villages, temples, wildlife sanctuaries even a deluxe houseboat cruise.  Priced from $7,189 per person twin share the package includes touring, sightseeing, rail travel, three game drives and 41 meals. Check it out on  

Brisbane on your doorstep

Now is the time to 'do' Brisbane.  The climate at this time of the year is just terrific. Make plans to book a studio apartment at Mantra South Bank, from just $199 per night, and that places you within easy walking distance of the CBD, the galleries and the famous Brisbane lifestyle. The price tag is valid Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights to December 24 2008.  That includes  accommodation, breakfast and car parking.  For bookings telephone 1300 557 575. 

Ever been to Orange?

What a stunning city is Orange, with its treelined boulevards, wonderful wines, excellent dining and just about the happiest people on earth.  Everyone, so it seems, is smiling. An offer from Clifton Gardens b&b will put a smile on your face.  John and Kay Gransden offer a two night package valued at $450, available to our readers for $370.  That includes superb accommodation, full country breakfast and a personalised wine tour of the district.  Telephone (02) 6365 1044 or visit 

* Please note conditions may apply to these packages  and prices are subject to change and availability.  Block out periods may apply.  

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VISUAL : Aboard the Moscow to Beijing train