Friday, 25 October 2013

Baikal Ice Games - Cotswolds - QM2 - The Ghan - Pitcairn Island - Fiji - more

Shrewsbury’s The Golden Cross Pub
Explore the oldest of British establishments, the pub, along with its famous fare on Back-Roads Touring’s new five-day Old Pubs & Great Grub package.

Prices start from $1848 per person twin-share, with a 5 per cent discount when booked by December 15.

The tour features visits to , which dates back to the 1400s, Loughpool Inn in Ross-on-Wye, the Westonbury Mill & Water Garden in Pembridge, Eastnor Castle, Hereford Cathedral, Goodrich Castle and some of the Cotswolds’ most charming villages.
Baikal Ice Marathon
The small group tour features a maximum of 18 passengers and includes two dinners, three lunches, accommodation, full English breakfast daily, mini-coach transport and entrance fees.

Phone 1300 100 410 or visit

Looking for a challenge with a difference? The 10th annual Baikal Ice Marathon will be held next March as part of the Baikal International Winter Games Festival.

More than 250 competitors are expected to race across the ice surface of Lake Baikal, which is the deepest freshwater lake in the world and holds some 20 per cent of the planet’s fresh water.

Adventure travel company 56th Parallel is offering tours to Baikal for the race, with other highlights including a visit to the cultural hub of Irkutsk and dog-sled and snowmobiling experiences in the Pribaikalsky National Park.

Registrations for the Baikal Ice Marathon close on December 1.

Phone 1300 742 374 or visit


Cruise Express is offering a 31-night fly-stay-and-cruise package next May based on two back-to-back voyages through northern Europe aboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2.

Prices start at $8369 per person twin-share, including return air travel to London and four nights accommodation at the five-star Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington.

Guests will visit ports in Scandinavia, Russia, Germany and Belgium and also have the rare chance to see Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth and QM2 rendezvouse in Southampton.

Phone 1300 764 509 or

The Ghan
The legendary Ghan will undertake its fourth Anzac Tribute Journey in next April.

The four-day journey will include a dawn service atop Anzac Hill in Alice Springs, a cruise along the Katherine River, an outback dinner under the stars, a visit to the Alice Springs Desert Park and a trip on an original Pichi Richi troop train through the Flinders Ranges.

Gold-class prices start from $3009 (pensioners from $2359).

Phone 1800 023 614 or visit

Intrepid Travel has added a variety of new culinary hotspots to its Food Adventures range of trips for 2014, increasing its emphasis on authentic, local, grassroots experiences and provision of an affordable alternative to traditional high-end gourmet food tours.

Highlights include feasting on a camel burger in Morocco, indulging in an asado (barbecue) with Argentinean gauchos, daring to try the infamous fugu, or puffer fish, in Japan, and picking tea leaves and preparing a fresh cup of tea in the highlands of Sri Lanka.

Macarthur Spring Food Tour

The Macarthur Spring Food Tour will take place on Saturday, October 26, in the historic Macarthur region around Camden, Menangle, The Oaks and Campbelltown, just south of Sydney.

The day-long gourmet, small-coach journey will be hosted by local foodie Nicci Peverill, and costs $99 per person, including transport, morning tea, lunch, tastings and a showbag.

Highlights include Camden’s Deli D’lish café, Camden Produce Market, visits to some of area’s best farms, food producers and wineries, and a grazing lunch created by Pretty Picnics in the grounds of Kelvin House, an 1820 Georgian farmhouse.
Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita

Phone 0431 942 945 or visit

Some of the most rare and valuable maps telling the Australian story will be on display at the National Library of Australia in Canberra from November 7 to March 10.

Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia will bring together more than 100 spectacular maps, atlases, globes and scientific instruments from around the world, telling the story of how European cartographers were imagining an undiscovered land in the southern hemisphere, while Aboriginal people were already here using mapping in very creative ways.

The centrepiece of the exhibition will be one of the rarest maps in the world, the first large-scale map of New Holland, created in 1663 by master cartographer for the Dutch East India Company, Joan Blaeu.


Claymore II

Pitcairn Island — best known as the home of Fletcher Christian and his fellow Bounty mutineers —remains one of the world’s remote and rugged outposts.

About 10 times a year Pitcairn’s supply ship, Claymore II, offers 12 passengers the chance to cruise to the island from Mangareva, in far-flung Eastern French Polynesia.

Prices start from $4970 per person twin-share ex Mangareva, including four nights aboard Claymore II and three nights home stay on Pitcairn.

Phone 8270 4899 or visit


Save up to 40 per cent at Best Western hotels, apartments and resorts.

Book at least two nights in selected properties and get 40 per cent off in Fiji, 30 per cent in New Zealand and 20 per cent in Australia.

Prime locations close to beaches, major shopping centres and other holiday hotspots.
Japan’s Hakuba Valley
Book by November 10.


Take an affordable ski lodge package in Japan’s Hakuba Valley.

Pay from $400 per person for five nights at Elk Lodge, including breakfast.

Get expert help in accessing the valley’s 10 ski areas, and getting to and from Tokyo’s Narita Airport.


Low-cost packages to Phuket.

Pay from $1163 ex Sydney ($1144 ex Melbourne and $1170 ex Brisbane) including return air travel to Thailand with full-service Malaysia Airlines, and five nights at the Bamboo Beach Hotel, just steps from peaceful Kalim Beach.

Free wifi and shuttles to Patong Beach, and a ticket to the spectacular Siam Niramit stage show, which features Thailand’s cultural heritage and includes a buffet dinner.

Book by November 11 for travel from January 16 to June 19.

Vibe Hotel Rushcutters Bay

Enjoy a Getaway Seafood package at Sydney’s Vibe Hotel Rushcutters Bay.

Pay from $269 per night, including a complimentary bottle of sparkling wine on arrival, a seafood platter for two in Curve restaurant, full buffet breakfast for two and a midday check out.

Free upgrade to a king view room overlooking Rushcutters Bay Park.

Monday to Saturday until January 31.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

Indonesia - Blue Mountains - NZ Bungy - Cycle Tours - QM2 - Murray River - more


Australian travel site Mega Holidays is offering a five-night Bali package including return flights with Garuda Indonesia, accommodation at the three-star Spazzio Bali Hotel in the heart of Kuta, and a full-day coral-reef excursion to the palm-and-beach-lined island of Lembongan.

Prices start from $1370 per person twin-share ex Sydney and the offer is valid for sale until December 31 for departures to March 31.
The traditional custodians of Darkinjung, Darug, Dharawal, Gundungurra, Wiradjuri and Wonnarua Country will play a leading role in this year’s Blueblue Mountains Festival of Walking, which starts next Saturday (October 5) and runs to October 13.
From the Gundungurra Ancestral Pathways Walk leading into the festival, the official opening at a site of Aboriginal significance, walks by indigenous people throughout the festival and a commemorative walk to wrap up the event, Aboriginal people of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area will be involved every step of the way.
bungyOn November 12 it will be exactly 25 years since AJ Hackett and Henry van Asch set up the world’s first commercial bungy-jumping operation at Queenstown’s historic Kawarau Bridge.
To celebrate, New Zealand adventure tourism company AJ Hackett Bungy will commence 25 days of celebrations on October 18, including stunt jumps, celebrity events, discounts and competitions.
What is the world’s most popular cycling tour? According to the Cycle Tours Global website, it’s the Annapurna Fun Ride, a 10-day easy-to-moderate round-trip from Kathmandu in Nepal through alpine meadows in the Himalayas, Buddhist villages and the deepest valley on Earth between the 8000-metre-plus peaks of Annapurna and Dhalagiri.cycling_annapurna
Operated by Snowy Horizon Adventure, the tour runs weekly from September to November and March to May each year and is available from $2200 per person twin-share, ex Kathmandu, including mountain-bike hire, lodge accommodation, all meals on the bike expedition, B&B accommodation in Kathmandu, a farewell dinner and two flights within Nepal.
Other rides in the top three were World Expeditions’ Vietnam by Bike, a 15-day ride between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, and Hannibal Expedition, a 27-day, 2400-kilometre trip from Barcelona to Rome, tracing the epic 218 BC warpath of one of history’s greatest military commanders.
And talking of travel hot lists, Abercrombie & Kent notes that the island of Chiloé, in southern Chile, is rapidly emerging as one of the world’s prime luxury destinations.
Fishing and subsistence farming are the major industries but it’s also famous for its handicrafts and unique timber architecture. There are some 150 wooden churches there, many with World Heritage listings, and the colourful palafitos (stilted house over water) are dotted all around the archipelago.
Just about the only place to base yourself is Refugia, a new 12-room hilltop lodge.
Phone 1300 590 317 or visit  ecruising
Travel from Sydney to Adelaide by rail on the Indian Pacific, cruise the Murray River for three nights on the Murray Princess paddlewheeler, then return to Sydney with a four-night cruise on the Queen Mary 2.
The adventure begins on March 5, with prices from $3309 per person twin-share, including a night at the Sebel Playford Adelaide.
le_boatPhone on 1300 369 848 or visit
Le Boat, which operates one of the largest fleets of self-drive craft on Europe’s waterways, has added Poland’s magnificent Mazurian Lakes to its offerings for 2014.
Guests will be able to explore more than 2000 interconnected lakes, all surrounded by lush and unspoiled nature.
Le Boat’s craft availability extends to countries such as France, the UK, Belgium, Italy and Germany.
Australians travelling on APT’s Royal Experience European river-cruise program next year will be guests at an exclusive performance by Vienna’s Mozart Boys’ Choir.vienna
The venue will be the city’s newly refurbished City Palace, official residence of the Liechtenstein Royal Family.
As well as the opportunity to view the palace’s many artistic masterpieces, guests will also enjoy a cocktail reception followed by an exclusive and private soiree featuring members of the choir.
Phone 1300 278 278 or visit
spicersTake a three-night family escape to Spicers Hidden Vale, a 12,000-acre working farm in the Lockyer Valley less than an hour’s drive from Brisbane.
Pay from $925 per night per family (two adults, two children), including breakfast, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner.
Also includes animal feeding, bush walking, a 4WD tour, a session at the Shooting Academy where guests can enjoy archery and laser clay target shooting, one massage, a pony lead each morning and one yoga session.
Phone 1300 179 340 or visit
PIC: spicers.jpg — Spicers Hidden Vale … a 12,000-acre working farm in the Lockyer Valley. daydream
Wake up to an extra night at Daydream Island Resort and Spa in the Whitsundays for only a dollar extra.
Pay from $449 per person twin-share for a garden-balcony room and get a fourth night for $1.
Children aged up to 14 inclusive can stay and eat breakfast free of charge; free guest activities including kayaks, catamarans, stand-up frangipanipaddle boards, stingray and shark feeding shows, an open air cinema, rainforest walk and gym.
Book by December 13 for stays until March 28.
Phone1800 075 040 or visit
Take advantage of opening specials at the 13-room Frangipani Green Garden, in downtown Siem Reap, the gateway to Cambodia’s amazing Angkor Wat complex of ancient temples. Pay from $US35 per night per room, including breakfast.
Robust property-wide wifi; restaurant offers Khmer and western cuisine.
Experience the luxurious side of the French capital with Tempo Holidays’ four-day Taste of Paris Deluxe package. Pay from $1034 per person twin-share for three nights at the legendary Hotel Sofitel Le Scribe, on the popular Right Bank.
Get a two-day hop-on hop-off bus pass, two-day Paris sightseeing pass offering entry to more than 60 museums and monuments including the Louvre, airport transfers and daily breakfast.
Valid for sale and travel to December 31.
Phone 1300 558 987 or visit