Monday, 17 January 2011

Renault Eurodrive - Carnival Spirit - Solar Springs - Banrock Station - Japan Rail


BOOK and pay before March 31 for delivery before December 31 2011 and Renault Eurodrive will give an extra 10-days free with bookings of 21-days or more on its luxury Laguna range – and an extra 7-days free on 41-other models to suit every need and every budget for European holiday motoring.

The Laguna range includes the luxury Berline sedan, luxury Estate and the sporty two-door coupe, while other Renault and Dacia* vehicles range from economic compacts through mid-size, family-size, luxury and people-movers.

All include free delivery and return in 17-French cities and airports, and for bookings made before March 31 this year fifty per cent off delivery and return fees at 16-cities and airports in Belgium, Germany, Holland, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

Renault Eurodrive also offers unlimited kilometres, full insurance with no excess in forty-two countries, 24-hour roadside assistance, full factory warranty and Europe GPS with virtually all vehicles; minimum age for drivers is 18 years, with no upper-age limits and no additional-driver charges.

Prices begin from a low $1299 for 21-days lease of a 2-door Twingo compact with a further 7-days additional use free; the Laguna range begin from $2299 for 21-days for the luxury family-size Berline plus ten days additional use free. Past clients since 2006 receive a further 3-days free on top of these bonus days on all 44-models in the Renault and Dacia* range.

See travel agents, phone toll-free 1300 55 11 60 or visit for full details and a detailed brochure online.

* Dacia is a Romanian car maker and subsidiary of Renault.


THE world's largest cruise line, Carnival Cruise Lines will base one of its ships fulltime in Australia from next year – after never having ventured into Australian waters before.

The 88,500 tonne Carnival Spirit will be the largest cruise ship ever to sail year round from Australia when she arrives in Sydney in October 2012 to operate a schedule of 8-12 day voyages to the Pacific Islands.

Carrying 2,667 passengers, Carnival Spirit will be the first ship to be based in Sydney year-round that will be too tall to sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge; she will instead have to be based at the Circular Quay Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Founded in 1972 and based in Miami, Carnival Cruise Lines is the best known cruise brand in North America and is expected to carry more than four million passengers this year – the most in the global cruise industry. Approximately two-thirds of Carnival Spirit's cabins will feature private balconies, and facilities will include a 22 metre corkscrew water slide, four swimming pools, a miniature golf course, jogging track and a sport court.

There'll be a choice of 16 lounges and bars, a 1,170-seat three-deck-high theatre, a two-level main dining room, reservations-only steakhouse and an expansive casual poolside restaurant. She'll also have a two-level health spa with wrap-around ocean views and an Internet café. Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia said the cruise line's move into Australia was testament to both the recent growth and the ongoing potential of the local cruise industry. "Cruising is booming in this country because it offers passengers a great value holiday inclusive of accommodation, top quality dining and entertainment that appeal to all age groups," she said.

Carnival Spirit will offer a year round schedule of 8- to 12-day cruises to the Pacific Islands and a selection of 13-day sailings to New Zealand beginning October 25, 2012, with the program expected to go on sale by the middle of this year.  The shipboard experience will be tailored to the Australian market with onboard spending in Australian dollars and no tipping will be required.

Ms Sherry said while the primary market would be Australians and New Zealanders, Carnival's strong brand recognition in the United States would play a role in attracting more US tourists to Australia. For more information visit


SOLAR Springs Health Retreat at Bundanoon in the picturesque NSW Southern Highlands – 1.5 hours drive from Sydney and a little more from Canberra – has a value-packed 3-night midweek getaway for those seeking a tone-up after the blow-outs of Christmas and New Year.

Their Summer Stunner package includes three therapies or consultations (choose from Solar Polish, Special Back Treatment, Manicure, Pedicure, Swedish Massage, Personal Training, a Physical Health Assessment or a Naturopathy Session,) twin-share or single accommodation, and all meals that are well-balanced to provide adequate protein, healthy fats, whole grains and plenty of seasonal fruit and vegetables.

Vegetarian meals and other diets are also catered for and wine is available by the glass at optional cost.

As many supervised activities as you want to fit in during your stay are also included in the cost, ranging from games, use of the 25-metre indoor heated pool, and meditation classes and health talks, to cycling, tennis, archery and walking in the adjacent Morton National Park.

The  3-night Summer Stunner package is priced from just $880pp twin-share or $975 single and is available Sunday to Wednesday or Tuesday to Friday. For full details phone 1800 044 944 – and ask also about their New Year New You package for the overweight and tired seeking to be healthier, fitter and more energetic.


THERE'S at least one place in Australia where the current floods are being welcomed: a large part of the wetland and floodplain at Banrock Station in South Australia's Riverland is now inundated for the first time in 14 years.

Like most places in the Murray Darling Basin, Banrock Station has been hindered by years of drought, but a spokeswoman says the flooding will bring enormous benefits to the River Murray and surrounding wetland and floodplain ecology.

In recent years Banrock Station has deliberately dried and flooded its wetlands to mimic natural cycles which stimulate the breeding of native animal and bird species. The natural flooding will now provide what the company has been recreating in its wetland, but on a much larger scale.

"Many of our native aquatic species will only breed in significant numbers in flood conditions, so if it's been too long between drinks, there may be very few of some species left to breed," Banrock Station Conservation and Wetland Manager Kate Thorn said. "The flood will also flush salt out of the system, give plants a big drink of fresh water and, most importantly, deposit a layer of fresh water into the ground, which will sustain trees for several years."

Banrock Station is located off Sturt Highway at Kingston-on-Murray near Renmark. The flooding is providing spectacular views from the deck of Banrock Station's Wine and Wetland Centre, with a large expanse of water with islands of higher ground, and lots of healthy trees with a light green halo of new growth.

The boardwalk, which provides unprecedented public access to River Murray wetlands, is 30cm (1-ft) under water and is expected to be covered by over a metre of water by mid-February. However visitors can still use most of Banrock's walking trails and the Wine and Wetland Centre deck to get an up-close look at the wetland.

"Many birds are enjoying the shallow water and the good pickings to be had in areas which have not been inundated for many years," Ms Thorn said. "We have erected temporary bird-viewing screens and a platform to help visitors get closer to the wildlife."


INTERNATIONAL Rail has many rail access passes in Japan, the most popular being the National Japan Rail Pass which is available as seven, 14 or 21 consecutive day passes in either Green Class (First class) or Ordinary Class (Second class).

This JR rail pass gives you access to almost all types of travel around Japan including JR trains, Shinkansen "Bullet" trains, cities and rural local trains and JR ferry service in Miyama.

There are also special rail passes for certain regions in Japan such as the Japan East Pass, Japan West Kansai Pass or the Japan West Sanyo Pass- all have different lengths and periods in which to use them.

IR are offering travellers a bonus $25 duty free shopping voucher or a Roaming SIM card which carries discounted phone charges of up to 90% valued at about $50 with rail travel bookings which exceed $800.

Passes start from as little as $52 day.

For more details and to purchase this pass contact International Rail on 1300-387-245 or visit