The Navy Pier, at Exmouth on Western Australia’s Coral Coast, has been described as an aquarium without glass, due to the vast range of marine life it attracts — wobbegong sharks, large potato cod, lion, angler, stone and scorpion fish, moray eels, octopus, large schools of trevally and huge rays dozing in the sand.The pier will officially open for diving on 15 November following restoration works, though as it is still a working US naval base — and to protect the amazing diversity of fish life — all dives must be guided.
Local company Dive Ningaloo has been awarded the sole operating license for the Navy Pier dive, though it warns that the experience is only suitable for reasonable advanced divers.
Tasmania’s Flinders Island … a foodie paradise against a backdrop of rugged beauty. Image: Kara Rosenlund.
Discover a world of regionally produced and wildly sourced food, wine and coffee — and untouched landscapes waiting to be explored.
Welcome to Tasmania’s Flinders Island, a wildly underestimated corner of Australia — one with some 200 species of birds and 85 pristine beaches.
Among the island’s biggest untapped offerings are its burgeoning food and wine industries. The paddock-, sea- and garden-to-plate philosophies are everywhere.
You’ll find succulent crayfish, wallaby, mutton bird, lamb and dry aged beef, plus organic garlic, honey, fresh fruits, vegetables and preserves in abundance.
Next March Flinders Island will hold its inaugural annual Crayfish Festival, with pop-up crayfish stands and butter-laden crayfish rolls, blended with the deftness of Australia’s very best chefs, along with bonfires, local music and tastings of wine and gin.
Golden Door Health Retreat … perfect venue to unwind before Christmas. Image: John Rozentals.
Need to unwind before Christmas? Golden Door Health Retreat in the Hunter Valley is offering savings of $1000 on a seven-night package and $800 on a five-night package for check-ins until December 23.
Programs include luxury villa accommodation, nutritious meals, seminars, full use of facilities, selected spa treatments or wellness consultations and a diverse range of fitness, health and relaxation activities.
Phone 1800 212 011 or visit https://www.goldendoor.com.au.
Santiago … a booming and buzzing metropolis
LATAM Airlines is offering fares to Santiago from $1199 for bookings made by 17 November.
The Chilean capital is a booming and buzzing metropolis famed for its expansive museums and art scene, from historical to futuristic. The Chilean blend of colonial Spanish cuisine with native flavours creates an exciting gastronomy scene in Santiago, and the country is renowned for its excellent, deep-flavoured wines.
Beyond Chile, LATAM’s ‘The Big Deal’ sale offers flights to Buenos Aires from $1259, Sao Paolo from $1389 and Lima from $1479.
Phone 1800 126 038 or visit www.latam.com.
Latvia’s capital Riga … an industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centre. Image: Sandra Burn White.
MSC Cruises has added several new ports of call to its itineraries for next year.
Sarande, a resort town at the southernmost point of Albania, will feature on MSC Poesia sailings from next April to October.
Nearby Butrint, a UNESCO World Heritage site, includes an impressive Roman amphitheater, a Byzantine Basilica and a Roman temple with mosaic floor.
Prices for Poesia seven-night cruises start from $879 per person.
In the Caribbean, MSC Fantasia will call at Kingstown, the capital of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
The city offers animated fruit, vegetable and fish markets, dramatic coastal views and the oldest botanical gardens in the Americas.
MSC Magnifica will call at the Latvian capital, Riga, situated at the mouth of the River Daugava and an industrial, commercial, cultural and financial centre.
Prices for an 11-night cruise start at $2049 per person ex Copenhagen.
Phone 1300 028 502 or visit www.msccruises.com.au.
Scott Smith … a great champion for NSW Outback tourism.
Scott Smith, who owns tour company Tri State Safaris and four NSW Outback accommodation venues including the iconic White Cliffs Underground Motel, has created the ‘Out of the Ordinary Outback’ brand, with a new $400,000 tourist information centre and cafe in Broken Hill as its centrepiece.
To mark the launch of the Out of the Ordinary Outback umbrella, the company is offering a 20 per cent discount on its three-day Tri State Safaris ‘Outback Exposure’ tour for bookings made before January 31.
Starting and ending in Broken Hill, the 4WD tour takes in the Menindee Lakes, White Cliffs Underground Motel and Wilcannia.
Prices are from $1104 per person twin-share, including meals.
Phone 1300 688 225 or visit www.outoftheordinaryoutback.com.au.
An idyllic lunch combo … the island of Tivua and the tall ship Ra Marama.
Captain Cook Cruises Fiji has launched a new ‘Long Lazy Lunch’ cruise to its private island of Tivua, departing daily at 12.30pm from Port Denarau Marina and returning at 6pm.
Guests set sail aboard the tall ship Ra Marama to an atoll surrounded by a circle of white sandy beach and 500 acres of coral gardens.
On-board experience a traditional welcome Kava ceremony. On Tivua, guests can enjoy a delicious tropical buffet lunch including fish, chicken, sausages, salads and fruit. Beer, wine and soft drinks are also available all afternoon on the island.
Then spend the afternoon snorkelling the magnificent reefs, go glass-bottom boating, kayak or paddle board around the island, play some volleyball, feed the fish or take part in coconut husking, weaving and Lali-beating demonstrations.
Prices are about $120 for adults and $80 for children aged 3-15 years, but as a start-up special one child aged 3-15 years pays only $27 with every paying adult.
Colour aplenty … the annual Hemis Monastery Festival.
Wendy Wu Tours is offering complimentary two-night stopovers in Singapore for bookings made before this November 30 on a range of its 2017 India and Sri Lanka packages.
The deal is available, for instance, on the new 23-day ‘Trans Himalayan Journey – Manali to Leh’, an active-paced exploration that covers highlights from the Himalayas to historic monasteries and colonial cities.
Along with a camel safari and travelling over the highest drivable road in the world, it also includes the opportunity to experience the annual colourful Hemis Monastery Festival.
The tour departs Australia on June 23 and is priced from $7840 per person twin-share, including return airfares with Singapore Airlines, accommodation, meals, comprehensive sightseeing, all transportation and visas for Australian passport holders.
Phone 1300 815 749 or visit https://www.wendywutours.com.au.