Monday, 16 November 2009

FRANKS FAVOURITES: Hollywood, Kimberley, Greek Isles, Oman, China

Flights, camera, action –


HIT the haunts of Hollywood's stars, shop the best addresses of LA and New York City, play the tables of Las Vegas – all this in February in the company of Australia's most-famous showbiz commentator, John-Michael Howson.

This fully-escorted package from Wings Away Travel departs Australia on January 27 2010 for 7-nights in Los Angeles, five in New York City and four in Las Vegas, with first class accommodation, coach excursions and transfers, entry fees, most breakfasts and two special lunches and a special dinner.

John-Michael will share unique insights into the stars of stage, screen and TV, as well as life in the United States from 25 years living and working there.

Prices start from $5499pp twin-share for 16-nights Los Angeles to Los Angeles, with air from Australia starting from an additional $1474 depending of airline of choice; the tour will be fully escorted by Wings Away Travel's Managing Director, Anne Rogers.

For a fully detailed itinerary phone 1800 800 640 or visit

HIGHLIGHTS include in LA and Hollywood a tour viewing the mansions of the stars with John-Michael's insights into each of these stars, shopping Rodeo Drive, visiting the Kodak Theatre (home of the Academy Awards,) Hollywood's Walk of Fame, historic Olvera Street and its famous Mexican marketplace, Forest Lawn Cemetery, Santa Barbara's artistic, cultural and entertainment options, and 'power shopping' the Camarillo Premium Outlets.

New York includes a circumnavigation of Manhattan Island, the United Nations Headquarters, a Stage Door Tour of Radio City and a meeting with one of its famous Rockettes, the MoMa Museum of Modern Art, St Patrick's Cathedral, shopping on Fifth Avenue, and a New York On Location Tour past 60 doorsteps of the Big Apple's most-famous movie and TV characters – plus a tour of the NBC Studios.

The tour finale is Las Vegas with an exploration of the famous 'Strip,' maybe a fling at the tables of one of the casinos or a fly-over of the Grand Canyon (optional extra,) premium outlet shopping – and a visit to the world's most flamboyant museum filled with the treasures of Mr Showbusiness, Liberace.


During 2010 the luxurious expedition cruise ship Orion explores the Kimberley coastline with a series of 10 night expeditions departing May, June, July and September.

Create your own dreamtime stories when you join Orion's specialist Expedition Team in the Kimberley to view pre-history aboriginal rock art, land on remote islands and beaches and explore gorges, inlets and serpentine waterways or climb to the plateau next to the highest waterfall in the Kimberley, King George Falls.

Conveniently embarking and disembarking in Darwin or Broome, Orion's 10-night voyages combine the contrasts of exploring the ancient and magnificent Kimberley wilderness, incredible at-sea experiences and the historic pearling town of Broome with its cafes and art galleries.

Orion's guests will see art galleries of another sort at Vansittart Bay - Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) Aboriginal rock art depicting highly adorned and decorated figures. Believed to be as much as 50,000 years old, these paintings, possibly the oldest known to man, record times when humans first explored this ancient continent.

At Raft Point and Bigge Island, Orion's Expedition Team will take guests to see aboriginal art including the mythical Wandjina tribe on a 'Great Fish Chase' featuring images of the Wandjina spirits with their distinctive haloes and dugong, crocodiles, fish and snakes.

Crocodiles love the Hunter River and it is no wonder, flanked with lush green mangroves and soaring ochre cliffs - arguably one of the most scenic parts of the Kimberley coast - Orion's guests too will wonder at this extraordinary environment as they venture into the labyrinth of waterways in search of saltwater crocodiles to photograph.

An amazing event unfolds at Montgomery Reef. Arriving at high tide, in waters rich in marine life (including whales, dolphins, dugong, turtles, manta rays and black-tipped reef shark), there is very little to distinguish Montgomery Reef. However, as the 10 metre tide changes it drops faster than the waters trapped inside the reef can escape and a raging torrent of water cascades over the top as kilometres of reef emerge from the ocean.

Prepare to get wet as Orion's Zodiacs will take intrepid guests into a channel in the reef as water cascades down either side.

At Talbot Bay, Orion's guests will experience another mighty Kimberley feature - the Horizontal Falls, a by-product of the incredible 10 metres high tidal movements the region experiences. The falls are created when water, trapped on the inland side of gaps in the coastline cannot escape fast enough on a falling tide, rushes out through the narrow gap to the ocean side.

The 12km journey up the King George River, either by helicopter or Zodiac, reveals some of the world's most spectacular scenery including vertical canyon walls and the highest single-drop waterfalls in the whole of the Kimberley. Who will resist the optional flight-seeing excursion offering a wonderful view of the falls, as well as the rugged, complex system of gorges behind?

Voyage early in the season, following the annual 'Big Wet', to see the waterfalls at their most magnificent; while late July and August is the prime time to see migrating whales in the Kimberley. And what better way to see the largest Humpback whale population in the world as they head north from the Antarctic to rest and calve than from onboard Orion?

With fishing, scuba diving, hot air ballooning and camel safari's to try out there is plenty to do when Orion visits Broome. Inherited from its early pearling days, its colourful history and cosmopolitan feel is still evident. Guests can relax, enjoy the pristine white sand and swim in the clear waters of Cable Beach, wander Chinatown or visit Gantheaume Point, home of 130 million year old dinosaur footprints.

These voyages exemplify expedition cruising with Orion. Adventure, excitement and dramatic sea and landscapes combine with outstanding levels of service and comfort on-board to stimulate the mind and capture the spirits.


SeaDream Yacht Club, operators of mega motor-cruiser, SeaDream I – rated the world's best in boutique cruising – are offering an amazing 55-per cent off the price of a 7-night sailing from Athens through the Greek Islands to Dubrovnik in June next year – making for a perfect escape from our Australian winter.

SeaDream I that carries just 112-passengers served by 95-crew will sail from Piraeus (Athens' cruise port) on June 19 2010 for Mykonos, Santorini, Sifnos, a transit of the historic Corinth Canal, Itea, Parga, and Dubrovnik where there's a night on board using SeaDream as your "Dubrovnik hotel."

Cruise-only prices now start from as low as US$4426pp twin-share including all onboard gourmet dining, wines with lunch and dinner, open bars, nightly cocktail gatherings, use of a 50-course golf simulator and power and sail watersports (in ports where permitted,) onboard gratuities and port charges and taxes… plus take advantage of the current excellent exchange rate against the US dollar.

SeaDream I also has a spa and beauty centre, and despite her high rating guests enjoy smart-casual dress for evening dining with no need for ties, jackets or formal wear.

For more details see travel agents or visit                                                     



Tempo Holidays has released two new Middle East holiday packages, the seven-day Flavours of Abu Dhabi (from $1602 per person twin share) and the 10-day Discover Oman (from $3668).

In the Flavours of Abu Dhabi package, travellers explore the modern city, visit the fascinating falcon hospital where the regal birds of Arabia are treated and experience Abu Dhabi's newest resort attraction at the Desert Islands Resort. Located on Sir Bani Yas Island, the Desert Island Resort offers guests a range of outdoor activities, on Abu Dhabi's only island conservation reserve.

The price includes four nights Sheraton Abu Dhabi (Superior sea-facing room), two nights Desert Islands Resort (Deluxe sea-facing room), six breakfasts, one dinner, selection of activities at Desert Islands Resort, arrival and departure transfers in private sedan vehicle, return transfers from Abu Dhabi to Sir Bani Yas Island, private Abu Dhabi city tour, Sundowner Dune Dinner tour and falcon hospital tour.

Discover Oman presents Oman's contrast of old and new, its culture and history, and an opportunity to interact with the local people. The tour visits some of the most important cultural sites in Oman including Nizwa Fort, Jabrin Castle, Birkat Al Mauz, and the beautiful fishing village of Qurayat. The stunning region of Salalah in Oman's south is also visited. This is where the monsoon rains transform the country into a green oasis.

Accommodation is at the Golden Tulip Nizwa hotel, 1000 Nights Camp, Golden Tulip Khasab, Chedi Muscat and the Hilton Salalah.

The price includes these hotels, transportation in a saloon car/4WD as applicable, services of an English-speaking chauffeur, nine breakfasts, one dinner, all entrance fees, reservation/booking fees, economy class airfare Muscat-Khasab-Muscat and Muscat-Salalah-Muscat (subject to change) and handling fee.

Contact: agents or Tempo Holidays tel 1300 558 987, see, or


APT has free flights to China and Vietnam for some of its tours departing in 2010.

The air deal is for China tour departures April 21-May 5 while Vietnam tour departures December 14-September 27 are covered by the offer.

Package examples are the 13-day Imperial China tour, priced from $6245 per person twin share which includes return airfare and taxes of $250, and the 15-day Indochina Adventure, priced from $6045 which includes return air fare and taxes of $500.

Prices cover touring, cruising, accommodation, local flights, most meals, sightseeing and airport transfers.

The China air deal applies to departures with Cathay Pacific Airways from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Perth while the Vietnam deal is linked to Malaysian Airlines departing from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.

Contact: call 1300 229 804, visit or see a travel agent.