Sunday, 28 March 2010

New Zealand Rugby World Cup Cruise aboard Rhapsody of the Seas

w/c March 29 2010. 


John Crook

Ruggers and the best tickets

If you are a rugby fanatic here's news of the best game in town.  New Zealand is the destination for the World Cup 2011.  The highlight of this tour package is that you will be sharing the thrill of a world cup with other like-minded travellers.  Travel and stay aboard the luxurious Rhapsody of the Seas, which has been exclusively chartered for the World Cup. The package includes the chance to spend time  with heaps of other Rugby luminaries, commentators, coaches and players of the past.  You go on-shore to catch live matches, and come home to the luxury of the Rhapsody of the Seas.  For prices, availabilities, conditions and more details, how about going straight to or phone 1800 225 656.  This is too good to miss.

Temples and Tigers in India

Climb aboard your mode of transport,- namely an elephant and head off in search of the majestic Bengal tiger.  Along the way visit some of the oldest temple sites in India, travel 4x4  into the Bandhavgarh National Park, all the time in search of Indian wildlife,- tigers,  Chital, sambar deer and more than 200 species of bird life.  Prices start from $3,021 per person twin share and that includes 10-nighs accommodation, some train travel and domestic airfare, transfers and conditions as per itinerary.  To check out what is included telephone Travel Associates on 1800 044 066.  International airfares not included.

Mothers' day this year extra special

Popular jazz troupe Mood Swing features over the Mothers' Day celebratory period May 7-9 2010. The location is Spicers Peak Lodge, the luxurious mountain retreat on Queensland's Scenic Rim. This has to be the BIG event for this year's salute to Mums.  Fine food and wine in an award winning retreat setting.  Mood Swing packages in May are priced from $2380 per couple for two nights. Listed amongst the inclusions is lunch on Friday, a spectacular degustation dinner on the Saturday, and on Sunday, a gourmet breakfast or leisurely brunch followed by a long lunch on the deck.  This is one very special occasion which awaits.  For bookings and enquiries call 1300 773 452.  By the way, Spicers Peak Lodge is a 90 minute drive south west of Brisbane.

Honkers in style

The stylish Peninsula Hong Kong is affordable as is demonstrated with a three-night stay in a superior suite, priced from $1929 per person twin share and that incudes return economy airfare  with Cathay Pacific from Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns and Perth.   The price includes the hotel's traditional breakfasts,  airline taxes and a half-day Hong Kong city sights tour.  Travel must be between May 9 and June 24, or July 16 to August 30.  Get on the phone now and dial 1300 137 808.

Canberra is the answer

If the question includes reference to a family friendly short-break which doesn't destroy the credit card, then Canberra wins hands down. Apart from costs such as travel,  accommodation  and food, just take heed that Canberra is alive with a wonderful range of attractions which feature free general admission.  

In the main, theme parks come with costly admission charges, - Canberra is one giant theme park, and in a dozen or more admissions are free.  Accommodation costs range from holiday parks to five star hotels.  Care when selecting a noshery, can also help keep the costs down.  With so many restaurants on offer, particularly when the House is not sitting, check out the published menu price lists and again these costs can be reduced.  Get a copy of the latest Canberra and Capital regional holiday planner.  It's free, and available by calling 1300 554 114.

* Please note conditions may apply to these packages  and prices are subject to change and availability.  The information is provided as a guide only.  Check with your travel agent. 

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Monday, 22 March 2010

Celebrity Infinity to Visit Iguazu Falls

w/c March 22

Travel Briefs
John Crook

A dam good experience

Away from the glamour capitals of the world and out into the real Aussie bush, which makes up Queensland's North Burnett.  An alternative destination which is relative new to the world of travel, but catching on so swiftly.  Close handy to the ex-gold mining country which attracted goldminers aplenty, Paradise Dam once had a population of 2000 with their departures when the gold ran out.    The foolhardy didn't realise that there's new life in these parts.  Now this gem of a lake caters for boaties, anglers and bush walkers.  Caravan space can be scarce, so ring before arrival and have a chat with the ranger.  His number is (70 41277278.  Put simply, it's waiting to be discovered.

To Russia, with love

Gilded spires, mystery galore, enchantment,- and more. To test the waters, so to speak, how about considering a seven-day Little Tour of Russia as a starter.  This one is priced from $2250 per person twin share, for bookings made between now and April 15, for departures on June 19, July 10 an July 31 2010. Contact 1800 221 712 for details and conditions.

July and Hong Kong

There's a package just been released for the Hong Kong dragon boat carnival.  This all happens over the weekend of July 23-25.  The price is from $1199 per person.    That includes return economy airfares from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Perth.   Also includes airline taxes, two nights' twin share deluxe room accommodation in Kowloon – even a HKD 100 food and beverage credit at the hotel. Check it out by calling Cathay Pacific Holidays on 1300 137 808.

Celebrity luxury in South America

A new brochure outlines what's available in the world of cruising for 2010.  One which should arouse a lot of interest has departures between December this year and March 2011.  There are fourteen nights aboard Celebrity Infinity, with two-nights pre-and post-cruising. There's also a two-night visit to spectacular Iguazu Falls.  Prices start from $6,379 per person twin share and that also includes return air and taxes from Sydney.  For all the details and conditions, ring 1800 225 656 or visit   There's also a range of Antarctica packages on offer.  Same contact details!

Lost Cambodia

There is a replica 19th  century colonial riverboat waiting to take you through the waterways of south east Asia, way upstream from Saigon to Siam Reap, or do it in reverse.  Choose from two 10-night journeys each with some great inclusions. That means all meals, local beers and spirits, soft drinks, mineral water, tea and coffee and a 'local cocktail'.  The itinerary includes some rather unique adventures.  Check out the prices and conditions by calling (02) 8080 5622, or 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

Visual attached :   Iguazu Falls.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Costa Romantica from Singapore to Hong Kong

Travel Briefs

John Crook 

Being single can get savings

Full marks to Avalon Waterways for the good news which should  be welcomed by those who travel single-style.  The company intends waiving single supplements on some of its most popular peak-season itineraries, which means you get the chance to cruise the great rivers of Europe at a twin-share price.    The waiver means singles receive more than a third off the cost of travelling alone, yet still have a luxury cabin to themselves. The deal is valid on 20 departures between April and August this year.    For instance! The offer includes the top-selling 15-day Magnificent Europe tour which is now available to singles from $6414.  However, you need to check conditions and availabilities by visiting  

Splash out and a free upgrade

Here's a free room upgrade at the five-star The Palm in Dubai.  The ocean themed resort offers a free upgrade from an Atlantis room to the Imperial Club and that means a terrific saving of $185 per room per night.  Conditions apply so check it out by visiting    There are other deals on offer which may also be worth checking. You could  make contact with the Australian travel agents on 1300 558 987. 

Gates open on April 10

It's a community day at the historic Q Station and that means you get to visit and inspect as part of the National Trust Heritage festival.  Entry and experiences are free excepting the Quarantine Station Tour, with proceeds being passed onto a local charity, namely Bear Cottage, the first children's hospice in New South Wales. 

Get the details by contacting (02) 9466 1551, or visit  

Austria is calling

The latest Destination Austria travel manual is available simply for the asking.  The publication includes listings of travel companies with heaps of information on Austrian holiday experiences.  It's free !  So why not ring now,- (02) 9299 3621 or email  

9 nights fly, cruise and stay

Here's a chance to save by sharing a cabin with family or friends.  Join the elegant 680-cabin Italian liner Costa Romantica from Singapore to Hong Kong in April or May of this year.  Quad share prices from  $1999 per person.  That includes return airfare and taxes from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide.  Costa Romantica is an elegant liner with a spa, Jacuzzis, an outdoor jogging track, nine bars, an internet centre, library and shopping centre.  She also has a casino, disco and a 600 seat theatre rising through two decks.  Most definitely the WOW factor ! Check her out by visiting or ring 1300 369 848. 

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.   
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FRANKS FAVOURITES: Bundanoon, Wild Dolphin, Argentina, Singapore, Vietnam


OVER 20,000 visitors are expected at this year's Bundanoon is Brigadoon in the NSW Southern Highlands on Saturday April 17.

Now in its 33rd year, this is one of the biggest Highland Gatherings in the world, featuring a massive street parade with 25 pipe bands from Australia and overseas, marching Scottish Clans and Societies, and dozens of decorated floats.

After the 9.30am Parade and 10.45 Official Opening visitors will be entertained to Scottish Country and Highland dancing demonstrations (with the opportunity to join-in if they wish,) individual pipe band displays, and demonstrations by the Highland Cavaliers and Southern Highland Kennel and Obedience Clubs.

There'll be such Scottish Traditional – and not-so-Traditional – games and activities as the Caber Toss, Shot Putt, Hay Toss, Haggis Hurling, Egg Toss, Water Toss, Kilted Races, and a Bonnie Bairns Highland Dress Competition (up to 6 years of age.)

And strongman David Huxley and the 'Tartan Warriors' will show their prowess in lifting the 'Bundanoon Stones of Manhood' that weight 100, 110, 125, 145 and 165kg each.

Over 100 Variety and Specialty Stalls will have arts, crafts, Scottish goods and tartans on sale, and a further thirty will offer a variety of foods and drinks – even haggis.

And Australia's unique Celtic Rock Band, HIGHLANDER will stage several performances during the day. Hailing from Newcastle, the 5-piece group is a powerhouse of the sounds of bagpipes, fiddle, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, percussion and vocal harmonies.

Entry to Bundanoon is Brigadoon $18 for adults (17 years and over,) $15 Concession (Age Pension cardholders,) $5 children 5-16 years and $40 for families.

Details including pre-purchase of tickets from Southern Highlands Information Centre 1300 657 559; also check-out

FOOTNOTE: If you are planning on visiting by train, don't look for Bundanoon on the railway station: even the platform name sign is changed to Brigadoon for the day!


Visitors to Australia's dolphin capital, Port Stephens, will be able to ride the waves in the water amongst a wild dolphin pod as part of a unique new interactive experience that has just become the first commercially licensed wild dolphin encounter in NSW and the only one of its kind in Australia.

Launched by Dolphin Swim Australia and Imagine Cruises and billed as a breakthrough in dolphin-human interaction and the 'closest thing to swimming with dolphins', the new 4 hour 'Aquatic Marine Viewing Experience' departs from the Nelson Bay Marina at Port Stephens, 2½ hours north of Sydney. After a thorough briefing, four people at a time will don wetsuits, snorkel gear and a safety harness before entering the water where they are securely attached to a cable between the twin bows of the catamaran, 'Imagine', as it sails along at a safe 5km/h. The in-water interaction lasts for about five minutes, with participants in trials smiling from ear to ear after the brief but intense experience.

"What we're launching is a unique experience which allows you to actually keep up with the playful and friendly common dolphins which get very excited when they see humans in the water whom they think are 'swimming' as fast as them," said tour co-founder Frank Future from Dolphins Swim Australia and Imagine Cruises. "It's an intense and moving experience that takes you right into the dolphins' world where you can hear and feel their vocalisations," Mr Future said. "We believe it will attract many more visitors to the 'Blue Water Paradise' of Port Stephens from around Australia and overseas... already more than 250,000 people a year come to Port Stephens to join dolphin cruises.

"Trials of the in-water dolphin encounters have shown that these types of dolphins just love to ride the waves with us and come right alongside our guests in the water," Mr Future said.

Dolphin Swim Australia joint venture partner, Andrew Parker, added that staff would conduct scientific research on the dolphins during the trips to discover more about the movement and abundance of the common dolphin and to ensure the activity had no negative impact on the species.

The NSW Marine Parks Authority has given Dolphin Swim Australia a three-year licence to run the dolphin encounters.

Available to swimmers aged 12 and over, the in-water dolphin encounters will run at Port Stephens every Saturday and Sunday at 7.15am from the Nelson Bay marina and cost $229 for swimmers (including wetsuit and snorkel hire) and $60 for observers. Rates include breakfast onboard 'Imagine'. Trips are limited to 20 swimmers and 20 observers. Bookings are via or, both featuring a video of the new tours, or 02 4984 9000.


Santiago, a striking city set beneath the Andes, the wine region of Santa Cruz, the tranquil lakes district and Latin America's most cosmopolitan city, Buenos Aires, are some of the highlights of Tempo Holidays 12-day Best of Chile and Argentina package which carries a 10 per cent discount on new bookings deposited by April 30.

The discount applies to all departures in 2010.

The discount price is from $2272 per person twin share (normally from $2524) which includes accommodation in four-star hotels, 11 breakfasts, two lunches, three dinners, coach and private excursions with bilingual guides, transfers and land transportation with bilingual guides, hotel pick up/drop off for excursions and transfers.

Airfares are not included but Tempo Holidays can organise them through its Latin America airline partner, LAN.

Contact agents, Tempo Holidays on 1300 558 987 or see


FAMILIES or friends who enjoy sharing a cabin to save on cruise-holiday costs, can join the elegant 680-cabin Italian liner Costa Romantica from Singapore to Hong Kong in April or May this year – from an unbelievable $1999pp quad-share, or $2099pp triple-share for 9-nights fly, cruise and stay through

And it includes return air and taxes from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Adelaide, two hotel nights pre-cruise and a night aboard ship in Singapore with all transfers, and 7-nights on Costa Romantica with all onboard meals and entertainment.

Representing savings of over thirty-per cent on originally-advertised prices, even twin-share packages starts from as low as $2249pp – and on some select departures children up to 18 years cruise free (paying only port charges) if sharing a cabin with two adults.

There are three of these fly, cruise and stay packages between April 17 and May 29, with Costa Romantica visiting Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang and having three full-days at sea between Singapore and Hong Kong.

A particular highlight is the opportunity to enjoy three-days of Singapore's duty-free shopping, markets, dining at the famous "hawker centres" and the Lion City's many other attractions, as all packages include a night at the riverside Novotel Clarke Quay Hotel, another night and day aboard Costa Romantica before sailing, and all transfers from airport to hotel to ship.

Details phone 1300 369 848 or visit

ADDITIONAL SHIPBOARD DETAILS: Costa Romantica is a stylishly elegant liner with public areas featuring rare timbers, Carrara marble and millions of dollars worth of original sculptures, paintings, murals, wall hangings and hand-crafted furnishings.

There's a spa offering beauty treatments, therapies and personalised instruction, four Jacuzzis, an outdoor jogging track, fitness centre with gym, treatment and sauna and steam rooms, nine bars, an internet centre and library and a shopping centre.

She also has casino, disco and a 600-seat theatre rising through two decks.


WENDY WU Tours is expanding its south-east Asian product by introducing a 12-day tour of Vietnam which concentrates on the country's exotic cuisine and learn-to-cook sessions with local chefs.

The tour blends the gourmet dining and cooking experience with the best of the country's cultural highlights, including a motorised cyclo tour to Hue's Imperial Citadel and a trip around Halong Bay on a traditional junk.

The cuisine experience includes dinner at the former residence of the U.S. Ambassador and a private cooking class at the Saigon Culinary Art Centre.

The fully inclusive escorted tour departs Sydney and Melbourne on October 20 and costs from $4280 per person twin share. Price includes international economy airfares, Australian and Vietnamese taxes, superior accommodation and all meals, local transportation in Vietnam, daily tours and entrance fees, an English speaking National Tour Escort and/or local guides and visa fees for Australian passport holders. It also includes airline fuel surcharge of $162 and tipping of $70, which are subject to change.

Fully inclusive prices for Brisbane and Adelaide start from $4580 per person twin share and Perth starting from $4690 per person twin share.

For more detail contact Wendy Wu Tours on 1300-727-998 or visit

Monday, 8 March 2010

Rotterdam goes South - and back

Travel W/C March 8 2010.


John Crook

Make the move by March 31

Here's great news from the Radisson Resort in Fiji, which means a half-price special and valid for travel April 11 to June 22 and from July 8 to September 15 2010.  Four nights of beachside bliss from $297 per person, including return airport transfers, meet and greet at Nadi airport, and the four nights for the price of two.  This is one worthwhile checking out.  Book and pay before March 31. Get the full deals and conditions by visiting  

You beaut deal

Here's news of a 'last seat deals' offer for some of the best river cruising in Europe, Canadian Rockies,  Alaska  and even Tasmania. Get the facts by visiting or telephone 1300 805 493. 

Bundy Breakaways

It gets better all the time.  Here's the latest tour which features the famous Tilt Train,  with accommodation at the Villa Mirasol Motor Inn,  one of Bundy's best four-star motor inns.  In addition to the extras which have been included in the itinerary, there is also a half-day Kanakas heritage tour, organised in association with the Bundaberg South Sea Islander community.   The tour is of four days and three nights priced at $549.   The Tilt train tickets are additional.  At the time of going to print, tours depart Roma Street railway station on the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month returning Mondays.   First thing is to get a brochure from your preferred travel agent. Or email 

5-star cruising

Fancy spending 15 nights aboard the 5-star Rotterdam, sailing from San Diego to Lima in Peru? There's a two-nights stay in San Diego before sailing off to Lima.  The price is from $5426.  There's also an offer to do the return trip, ie Lima-San Diego. Check out both itineraries. Book by April 15  and receive a $150 shipboard credit, a 3-bottle wine navigator pack and a Pinnacle Grill dinner per stateroom.  Just make the call to 1800 225 656 for inclusions and surprised with the deal.

You could pay a visit to  

25% discount

There is no catch, just the one condition and that is to purchase a France flexi rail pass prior to March 29 2910.   The discount applies to 1st and 2nd class adult and adult saver (two to five adults travelling together) and for travel up to September 28.  Get all the information  prior to booking by contacting 

* 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 

Ed please note :  Visual of Rotterdam ship.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Escorted Viking Tour includes Denmark, Iceland, Greenland the Shetland and Orkney islands

W/c March 1

John Crook

Bali for schoolies week 2010

Club Cactus is the destination for many  students in search of a fun and affordable holiday with a twist. A Schoolies escape package  is on offer from just $413 per person share and that includes seven-nights accommodation with breakfasts, personal airport transfers, Club Cactus freebies, souvenirs and services of an exclusive activities officer.  This year Schoolies runs from November 20 to December 12.  For bookings and details of conditions, go visit

Pay 2nd class and travel 1st

Switzerland rail travel is different.  Different in that it is possible to travel 1st class yet pay second class.  This is a new deal from Rail Plus, with free upgrade for travel up to May 31 if booked before March 29. The upgrade applies to adult, child, saver and youth tickets and valid for the Swiss continuous pass and the Swiss flexi pass.  Conditions apply, so check with 

Hone your golf swing

Get the help of a pro-golfer whilst enjoying the supreme beauty of Mauritius.  Whilst airfares are not included in this offer, the deal is still appealing, with prices starting from $1940 per person twin share.  That includes five nights accommodation in a deluxe room, transfers, breakfast and dinner.  The five-day golfer's package starts from $570 per person or $799 per couple.  Add the sums and it still looks enticing.    More details by ringing 1800 044 066.  Conditions apply and prices subject to change.

Free vehicle upgrades

Year 2010 is off to a good start with vehicle upgrades or reduced rates tor those travellers who book early to enjoy the best value in car rental,.. particularly in the UK, Ireland, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal.  Also in the USA and Canada.  Auto Europe offers real value-for-money offers. It's just a matter of booking before March 31 2010 and collect your vehicle any time between April 1 and March 31 2011.  To ensure you get the best deal, I reckon the best thing to do is go visit 

Butcher, baker and winemaker

A decade or so ago, the  Barossa Valley launched a VIP experience voucher book priced at $65 but with over $100 value. The Butcher, Baker, Winemaker voucher book includes a souvenir hamper including a stainless steel cheese knife, mini chopping board, napkins and dipping bowl. There's more though.  For the full story telephone Tourism Barossa on (08) 8563 0662.  Then, go sample 'Barossa style'.

Go pray in a circa-AD1111 church

There's a 19-day fully-escorted tour in August of this year to the lands of the Vikings.  The itinerary includes Denmark, Iceland, Greenland the Shetland and Orkney islands en-route to Aberdeen in Scotland.   Volcanoes, hot springs, geysers and the site of the world's first parliament will be visited. This is one tour which needs to be considered.  Don't just take my word for it, arrange for a brochure by visiting or call 1800 083 141,

* 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

ed nb – Visual of Orkney Island Skara Brae best preserved prehistoric village in Northern Europe.