Monday, 30 November 2009

Special free city-stay offer


John Crook

Citroen deal

Just released is a deal which offers up to nine free days on brand new Citroen cars costing from just $30 a day.  Choose from  air-conditioned models with rates including full insurance and 24-hour assistance.  The French government allows manufacturers to lease vehicles to non-French residents,- free of all duties and taxes and zero insurance excess.  For more details contact globalCARS on 1300 789 992 or visit   Oui !

A touch of Dickens,- in Australia

Entry to the gardens of Bleak House in central Victoria is just $5 a head, with children gaining admission free. This 20 acre property has 15 of those acres converted to a magnificent array of flowers.  Even though Spring has passed us by, Bleak House is still magnificent to visit through the summer months.  Visit for a few hours or go stay in the B&B cottage.  Tariff is $190 per couple per night Friday, Saturday or Sunday,- cheaper midweek.  Bleak House, named after the Charles Dickens book of same name, is located an hour north of Melbourne. For more information and to book the B&B go visit or telephone (03) 5423 2970.

Italia touring

There is a fully escorted tour heading out of  Rome airport and touring the delights of Tuscany and Umbria.  The three-week escorted tour starts at the end of April, next year. Priced from $6975 twin share, it includes pick-up from Rome airport, full-time Aussie escorts and a local guide, coach, ferry, funicular and rail travel, 21-nights twin-share, all breakfasts and most dinners.  Return air fare ex Australia is additional.  I like this one because it is not made up of one-night stands.  Instead there is a week at a time headquartered in hotels in three different cities.  This is a small group tour with Carolinasusi Italia Tours.  Full details by calling (07) 3396 8652, or visit

007 once stalked Queensland's Hidden Vale

It's absolutely true that the man who is remembered as 007,  as a youngster,  lived on what is known these days as Peppers Hidden Vale.   With your family, walk in his steps during a stay at the 12,000 acre working cattle station in south east Queensland.  Just a 60 minute drive south west of Brisbane,- and chalk up a family package for the holiday period from December 1 2009 through January 31 2010.  That includes accommodation for two adults and two children, full buffet breakfast, pony lead rides for the kids and use of the property's activity facilities.   Rates start from $350 per family, per night.  Contact the property on 1300 881 435.

South Oz a veritable market place

Get out the cane basket and head for your nearest market place.  They are scattered throughout South Australia.  Riverland Farmers Market at Berri, every Saturday Tel : 08 8582 4864 . Victor Harbor Saturday's (Tel:08  8551 0520, until December 31.  In the Barossa, every Saturday at their Angaston location     Willunga has two markets, the farmer's market Saturdays (www.willungafarmersmarket) and on  the second Saturday each month it's the Quarry Markets       Down at the Limestone Coast their farmers' market runs through until the end of the year   Likewise, on Sundays in Moana the farners get together (Tel: 08 8327 0480.

And, on the subject of food

Chef Damon McGinniss continues to smile.  After all, it's not every week that a chef can claim 'best lamb dish', which is just what he did with his creation for the recent  NZ awards for his merino lamb leg, whipped potato, green pea mash and smoked tomato jus.   Damon is head chef of Sargoods Restaurant at the  Edgewater Resort which sits on the shores of beautiful Lake Wanaka.  Try his lamb dish once, and you'll do as I did,.. ordering it two nights in a row.  If you are doing New Zealand, do include Lake Wanaka, and one could not do better than stay at the Edgewater Resort Hotel.  For more information visit 

Special free city-stay offer

Travellers get to choose a free city-stay in Paris, London, Rome, Venice or Sorrento  and saving up to $2314 per couple when booking any of the 2010 Avalon Waterways European river cruise of 11 days or more.   The special offer is one of five deals released by Avalon  giving a choice of free European flights (just pay the taxes), free Asia stopovers, free cabin upgrades and free add-on cruises.  Best thing to do, to check on exactly what these deals mean, is to visit

* Please note conditions may apply to these packages  and prices are subject to change and availability.  This information is provided as a guide only.  Check with your travel agency.   Block-out periods may apply.    Need a holiday ?  We're archived on