Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Mt Hotham Ski - Vanuatu Melanesian - Iceland Vikings - Port Stephens - Kong Kong


with David Ellis


SKIMAX, one of Australia's leading ski resort holiday specialists, has an abundance of skiing or boarding holidays at Victoria's alpine resorts this winter, its website offering Ski Victoria Earlybird packages to Falls Creek, Hotham or Mt Buller… with prices at Hotham from $739 including five nights accommodation and a five day ski pass.

Australia's "Powder Capital," Hotham Alpine Resort has 13 lifts and more than 80 downhill runs, ranging from walk-on beginner slopes to challenging steeps. With 22 new snowguns and a snowmaking investment of more than $1.7M in 2010, the snowmaking system ensures you can book for school holidays and enjoy more terrain for longer. Hotham's Snowsports School caters to all ages and levels, plus there is a combined daycare and ski program for the little ones. Pamper yourself in the day spas, wander the shops, eat in style, discover the nightlife, join in sparkling sunset tours, grooming tours, guided snowshoe tours, or kids' snowmobiling rides.

Skimax has 5 nights at Hotham's Arlberg Apartments from $739pp twin-share, including a 5 day Hotham Ski Pass. *Conditions apply. Valid for travel 9 – 22 June 2012,  based on 5 night midweek package checking in on a Sunday. Book and pay by 30 April.

For more details: www.skimax.com.au


CHILDREN under 12 stay free and eat free when their parents book a fly/stay package at the newly re-furbished The Melanesian in Vanuatu by April 30.

The offer is part of a five-night package from Sydney and Brisbane and a seven-night deal from Melbourne which costs $789, $739 and $959 respectively with children sharing a room with parents and eating with parents.

Prices include return air fares with Air Vanuatu, airport transfers, accommodation and Continental breakfast.

The conveniently-located property which is just walking distance from the heart of Port Vila with its restaurants, bars, markets and duty free shopping has just had a major renovation of its rooms and apartments, as well re-furbishing the lobby and reception area and adding a new hair, beauty and massage salon.

The recent renovations also provided wireless internet connections in all rooms for a small charge, plus free Internet café facilities in the foyer.

The Melanesian is renowned for its Cultural Entertainment Night on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday nights, and which includes an all-you-can-eat BBQ . With the arrival of a new award-winning Japanese chef, the Melanesian now has Japanese cuisine on Saturday nights.

The property also has its own day tours program which offers a choice of local sightseeing including round-island day trips, horse-riding, island cruising and others.

More details from Vanuatu Escapes at 02-9211-0944 or visit www.vanuatuescapes.com.au


FAR HORIZONS has a captivating 21-day fully escorted tour this August into the lands, lore and legends of the Vikings, travelling by plane, helicopter, private boats and coach from Denmark through the Shetland and Orkney Islands, Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands.

Major highlights include archaeological sites with their Viking, Pictish and Bronze Age remains, 5000 year old tombs, a Viking Ship Museum, nature reserves teeming with birdlife, ancient cathedrals and palaces, an arts centre, Iceland's geothermal area of Geysir, a boat ride through iceberg dotted waters that skirt a massive glacier, and a helicopter flight for spectacular views from Kulusuk in Greenland to Reykjavik in Iceland.

There's also a visit to the oldest inhabited wooden house in Europe built 900 years ago, and the world's oldest parliament on the Faroe Islands.

And as an interesting aside, there are visits to the Shetland Islands' Sullom Voe Oil Terminal that handles production from the North Sea oil fields, and to Scapa Flow on Orkney Island that provided a safe haven not only for the Vikings in their day, but for the Royal Navy during both World Wars.

The 21-day package includes return air from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth, best available hotels, all meals, daily sightseeing and helicopter and boat trips, a Far Horizons escort and local guides, gratuities and taxes. It is priced from $22,500pp twin-share with a single supplement of $1800 available. Details 1800 083 141, (02) 9955 0444 or www.farhorizons.com.au.


FRESH from a complete facelift, the newly renamed Nelson Resort in Port Stephens has released a new deal that offers seaside seekers a two-night stay at the boutique resort, with a third night for only $10.

The 'Amazing Autumn' offer is available online only at www.nelsonresort.com.au, with two-night stays available from $254 per room, and three-nights from just $264.

Formerly the Nelson Lodge, the new-look, boutique-style Nelson Resort is nestled in the heart of Nelson Bay in Port Stephens and is close to beaches and dolphin watch cruises and offers guests stylishly renovated rooms with balconies and LCD TVs, heated pool, tennis court, sauna and a café serving organic barista-made espresso.

A 2½ hour drive north of Sydney, Port Stephens offers sailing, dolphin cruises, sandboarding and quad biking on Australia's biggest sand dunes, camel rides on the beach, horse-riding, parasailing, koala spotting, kayaking, fishing, fauna parks, wineries, bushwalks, seafood restaurants and a choice of ocean and harbour beaches.

To book the Nelson Resort deal, visit www.nelsonresort.com.au. For general information on Port Stephens, www.portstephens.org.au


WENDY Wu Tours has teamed up with the Hong Kong Tourism Board for a special promotion on a hotel and sightseeing package in Hong Kong which that's ideal for those wanting a short break on the way to Europe, China or Japan.

The "Hong Kong in Focus" package is now priced from $435 per person twin share and is a four-day land only package that includes two days of comprehensive sight-seeing to Victoria Peak, Stanley Markets, Aberdeen fishing village, the Yuen Yuen Institute and the Sam Mun Tsai fish farming zone.

It also includes three nights' accommodation at the Eaton Smart Hotel with breakfast daily, sightseeing with an English-speaking local guide and return airport transfers.

This offer is for new bookings and is valid for sale until April 30 and for travel from May 1 until August 31, 2012.

For further details on packages contact Wendy Wu Tours on 1300-727-998, visit www.wendywutours.com.au or contact your AFTA Travel Agent. For further information on Hong Kong visit www.discoverHongKong.com