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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

August 12, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

This spring, fashionistas will flock to Melbourne to experience The House of Dior: Seventy Years of Haute Couture, a never-before-seen exhibition at the National Gallery Victoria.

In celebration, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, the NGV’s official accommodation partner, has created a series of couture cocktails, each highlighting a particular design theme synonymous with the House of Dior.

With collections spanning 1947-1957, for instance, Christian Dior developed a series of distinct lines that shaped the silhouette of his designs. The Zig-Zag, Tulip, Oblique, H and Y lines are just a few of his defining shapes.

The Sofitel’s matching cocktail — The Line — contains spiced rum, pedro ximenez and Mozart Dark, garnished with fresh fig.

“The sharp lines of the martini glass, paired with the soft curve of the fig, give the cocktail a signature silhouette,” said its creator, bar manager Marc Dasan.

The hotel’s ‘So Cultural package’ is priced from $315 per room per night, and includes breakfast for two at No 35 Restaurant plus two tickets to NGV’s The House of Dior exhibition.


 Floriade … will feature an open-air performance by the David Bowie Tribute band.

Canberra’s Floriade — the Southern Hemisphere’s largest flower show — will celebrate its 30th anniversary from 16 September to 15 October with a number of major additions to the program.

The introduction of an evening opening event — the Floriade Twilight Concert — on Friday 15 September heralds the changes. It will feature an open-air performance by the David Bowie Tribute band supported by the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, and will also offers an opportunity for visitors to see the flowerbed designs before the gates officially open.

Floriade’s after-dark experience, NightFest will run across two separate weekend dates of 22-24 September and 29 September-01 October, from 8-11pm each night.

It will feature an increased offering of lighting designs and interactive installations, plus more live music, roving entertainment, local food-and-beverage options and a large new, designated stage for comedy performances.


The PS Murray Princess … replicates the paddlewheelers that first cruised the Murray in the 1800s.

Book a three, four or seven-night Murray River cruise more than 60 days prior to departure and save up to 15 per cent with Captain Cook Cruises.

The PS Murray Princess has been finished with polished wood and gold trimmings, and features a winding staircase, full-length windows and a paddlewheel encased in glass. In many ways it replicates the paddlewheelers that first cruised the Murray in the 1800s.

Bird watchers will love the abundance of birds along the river, including breeding swans, swamp hens and wood ducks.

The four- and seven-night cruises include visits to a sacred Aboriginal site, a sheep station and woolshed, and a native wildlife shelter.

Follow the food-and-wine trail for tastings at several vineyards and cellar doors, or sample some local food and wine with tastings in the Sturt Dining Room and learn more about the Murray and Riverland regions and their produce.

With the discount, prices for a three-night cruise start at $803 per person twin share.

Phone 1300 729 938 or visit

 White Cliffs Underground Motel … makeover will provide ensuites for 12 rooms.

The iconic White Cliffs Underground Motel — the largest underground accommodation in Australia — has embarked on a major makeover, including subterranean digging to further expand the 32-room hotel in the remote outback town.

To mark the new look, bookings made by September 30 will attract an 11 per cent discount, while a two-day safari tour offered by the motel’s sister company, Tri State Safaris, is discounted by 10 per cent until that date.

Guests at the White Cliffs Underground Motel enjoy a constant temperature of 22 degrees, as well as a licensed restaurant, café, bar and above-ground swimming pool.

The tiny opal township is located in far-west NSW, 1025 kilometres from Sydney and 780 kilometres north-east of Adelaide.

The motel dates back to the early 1900s, when opal miners sought sleeping quarters away from the heat. It later became a family home and opened as a motel in 1989, with new tourism venture, Out of the Ordinary Outback, purchasing the property in 2016 as part of its growing stable of NSW Outback experiences.

Works to be completed by April next year include the addition of ensuites to 12 rooms.

The discounted rates are from $291 per couple for two nights or from $261 for solo travellers. Tariffs include a continental breakfast.

Phone 1300 688 225 or visit

 Ethel Beach … discover the secrets of its famous shipwreck.

Run free in gigantic, lush national parks or down kilometres of beautiful, secluded coast during a visit to South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula.

Or explore shipwrecks, lighthouses, seaside towns and swim in crystal-clear, aquamarine waters.

A few of the top spots to visit on the peninsula include Moonta Bay, with its Splash Town water park, Troubridge Island and lighthouse, which can become your own private island, and Ethel Beach, where you can discover the secrets of its famous shipwreck.

There are also plenty of family-friendly dining options, such as the Stansbury Dalrymple Hotel, which is famous for its fresh oysters, and Warooka’s Inland Sea Restaurant, Warooka, which specialises in locally caught crayfish.

Accommodation-wise, there are plenty of attractive options as well — the Moonta Bay Caravan Park, Yondah Beach House at Foul Bay, Marion Bay Holiday Villas, and Redwing Farmstay at Weetulta.


Maharani Beach Hotel … save 50 per cent on a Bali beach break.

Save 50 per cent on a Bali beach break with TravelOnline.

Pay from $195 per person twin-share for five nights at the Maharani Beach Hotel, including daily breakfast for two, return airport transfers and the choice of either an 80-minute day spa treatment for two, access to Finns Beach Club and Splash Waterpark for two, watersports voucher for two or a whitewater rafting adventure for two.

The offer is valid for sale until December 31, 2017, and for travel from October 16 to December 22, and again from January 6 to March 31 next year.

Situated opposite Kuta Beach, Maharani Beach Hotel is within walking distance of numerous restaurants, bars and shopping opportunities. Features include day spa and onsite restaurant and bar.

Phone 1300 883 887 or visit

 Finding beluga whales while exploring Manitoba.

Frontiers North Adventures has released its 2018 trip collection, including expanded opportunities to explore central and northern Manitoba on the seven-night ‘North Big Five Safari’.

The adventure takes guests from the sweeping valleys and deep gorges of Riding Mountain National Park to the waterways and vast open tundra of Churchill in search of Manitoba’s Big Five: black bear, moose, bison, beluga whales and polar bears.

The journey includes accommodation, all meals and activities, and is led by a professional interpretive guide.

Prices start at about $6650 per person twin-share.


Magician Temple in Uxmal. Image: Progettocrema/

The famous Mayan-Toltec pyramid settlement of Chichen Itza is one of a host of ancient sites visited on Byroads Travel’s ‘Mexico and the Yucatan’ small-group tour.

The escorted 15-day tour next February begins in Mexico City and will also focus on such historic Yucatan gems as Palenque, Uxmal and coastal Tulum, along with the breathtaking Sumidero Canyon and the Spanish city of Merida with its colourful colonial squares and streets and lively markets.

Prices start at about $4700 per person twin-share, with the tour also calling at San Cristobal, Monte Alban and the waterfalls of Agua Azul and Misol-Ha.

Phone (02) 9357 6800 or visit

 Motorcycling through Rajasthan … a place of natural beauty and wonder.

Ride a Royal Enfield 500cc Classic Desert Storm motorcycle past the natural beauty and wonder of colourful Rajasthan this November with Extreme Bike Tours.

Until September 30, the company is offering a 10 per cent discount for riders and a 20 per cent discount for pillion riders on its guided five-star Rajasthan tour, departing Delhi on November 11 this year.

Rajasthan is India’s largest state and is filled with vast desert expanses, hidden treasures and ancient structures. The 14-day tour takes riders across 1530 kilometres of undemanding roads, visiting the jewels of Rajasthan and staying at some of Asia’s most authentic and romantic palace hotels.

Prices for riders start at about $6420 and for pillions at about $4635, including accommodation, meals, fuel and transfers.



Swimming with whales in Tonga … an exhilarating experience.

Save $400 per couple on all-inclusive eight-night whale-swimming package to Tonga if you book before September 30.

Enjoy days of yoga by a turquoise lagoon, kayaking, seaside horse-riding, paddle-boarding, sunset champagne and swimming with wild whales as part of a new package offered by Majestic Whale Encounters.

The ‘Whale Swim Zen and Adventure’ package will see Australians travel to Tonga in August next year, when they will stay in beachside bungalows on the idyllic coral island of Foa in Tonga’s Ha’apai group of islands.

Guests will have the opportunity to spend four days swimming with the majestic mammals, which measure up to 19 metres long.

Including discounts, prices are from $4500 per person twin-share.

Phone 0405 594 253 or visit

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