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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

September 16, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Alpine meadows, summer flowers, charming French hamlets, glaciers and spectacular mountain views are among the sights during On Foot Holidays’ French Alps walk in the shadow of the iconic 4800-metre Mont Blanc.

The self-guided seven-night tour takes travellers from St Gervais to Chamonix, crossing spectacular suspension bridges, catching cable cars and exploring dark pine forests, refreshing brooks and cow-filled meadows.

Guests will stay in traditional French hotels and mountain chalets, with their luggage transferred each day, meaning they only carry a day pack.

Travellers who book the walk for 2018 by September 30 this year save 5 per cent by paying the 2017 price of about $1450.

Daily breakfasts, two dinners and a picnic are included in the package, with walkers able to sample gourmet French cooking, premium cheeses and a range of the country’s famous wines.

Visit www.onfootholidays.co.uk.

 April in Japan … cherry blossoms really bring out the tourists.

April is the busiest month for tourism in Japan, so plan ahead for seeing the country’s cherry blossoms next year.

Toursgallery is offering a small-group tour that will visit 10 gardens in Japan at the peak of cherry-blossom time, with guests enjoying the luxury of a private charter coach, superior accommodation and traditional Japanese banquet dinners.

Gardens to be visited include the serene Ryoanji Stone Garden, Ritsurin and Korakuen, Kinkakuji with its much photographed Golden Pavilion, as well as Rikugien and Hama Rikyu in Tokyo.

Sankeien Garden, a privately owned bonsai collection and the cherry-blossom-filled stroll through the gardens of Heian Jingu Shrine are also part of the program, as are visits to Hakone National Park, the two giant bronze Buddha statues at Kamakura and Nara, Kurashiki canal, and the cherry-tree forests of Hase Dera.

Experience staying in traditional-style Japanese ryokans, spa resorts and first-class hotels, in addition to savouring the taste and visual sensations of Japanese gourmet cuisine.

Commencing in Tokyo on March 29, this fully escorted first class tour is priced at $10,850 per person twin-share.

Phone 1300 307 317 or visit www.toursgallery.com.

A treat for wildlife photographers … Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero’s customized safari boat.

Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero is located in the north-west of Botswana, close to the Namibian border, and provides a luxurious riverside retreat on the edge of the country’s renowned Chobe National Park.

The park features an immense teak forest and is home to the world’s largest remaining population of elephants, estimated to be around 100,000, as well as an abundance of other wildlife including buffalos, bushbucks, antelopes, lions, leopards and the rare wild dog.

Nestled high above the Chobe River, the lodge presents panoramic views across the islands and floodplains to Namibia, but for wildlife photographers the highlight is almost certainly the camp’s customised boat, which offers a spectacular vantage point for photography right along the Chobe River.

The lodge has 15 air-conditioned thatched cottages, each with ensuite, private garden and private balcony.

Rates are from about $660 per night per person twin-share for one to three nights, with savings of up to 35 per cent for stays of eight or more nights at any combination of Sanctuary Retreats’ African camps and lodges.

Visit www.sanctuaryretreats.com.

 Everest Base Camp … magnificent views of the roof of the world. Image: Michael Zanon.

Save 10 per cent on World Expeditions’ November 21 departure of its trek to the Everest Base Camp.

Walk to the Everest Base Camp via vibrant Namche Bazaar and Thyangboche Monastery and return to Kathmandu by helicopter.

The 12-day trek is now priced from $5112, including all meals on trek, internal flights, accommodation throughout and use of a World Expeditions kit bag, which includes a quality sleeping bag and jacket.

Phone 1300 720 000 or visit www.worldexpeditions.com.

 Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach … just one highlight of a 22-night trans-Pacific cruise.

Cruise1st is offering a 24-night trans-Pacific package next April, including a 22-night cruise from Sydney to Seattle on board Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas.

Highlights include Noumea and Lifou in New Caledonia, Mystery Island, Suva and Lautoka in Fiji, crossing the International Dateline, Lahaina on Maui, and Honolulu on the main Hawaiian island of Oahu.

Explorer of the Seas is geared towards family fun and athletic activities, and features a basketball court, rock wall, ice-skating rink, mini-golf course, spa facilities, fitness centre, casino and Broadway-style entertainment in the Main Theatre.

Prices start from $3149 per person twin-share ex-Sydney ($3299 ex Brisbane, $3399 ex Melbourne, $3449 ex Adelaide and Canberra, and $3549 ex Perth), including flight back to Australia.

Phone 1300 596 345 or visit www.cruise1st.com.au.

Breath-taking views wait … towering sea cliffs that feature on the Three Capes Track. Image: Paul Hoelen.

Tasmania’s Osborne Aviation has recently launched new itineraries from Port Arthur, offering holidaymakers a bird’s-eye view on the apple isle’s natural beauty and rugged terrain.

Breath-taking views await as you soar next to the towering sea cliffs that feature on the Three Capes Track (Cape Hauy, Pillar and Raoul), witness the exposed lighthouse on Tasman Island, and marvel at the World-Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site.

Visit www.osborneaviation.com.

 Visit My Farm … helping connect people with where their food comes from and how it is produced.

Farmers across NSW have thrown open their gates as part of the State Department of Primary Industries’ Visit My Farm initiative.

With plenty happening during spring, it’s the ideal time to consider visiting a farm for a day or a morning.

The Visit My Farm project not only helps people to connect with a farmer, it can help connect people with where their food comes from and how it is produced.

The new online platform provides an easy way for people to meet and chat with a farmer while the photo gallery shows what happens on a working farm and how people can learn about agriculture.

Julie Steepe, from Lucy Land Farm at Bulahdelah, said that she wanted to be part of Visit My Farm so she could show the community what is involved in making ethical and holistic food.

Visit www.visitmyfarm.com.au.

 

 Reviving the historic Gipps Hotel … Out of the Ordinary Outback owner Scott Smith.

A growing NSW tourism brand, Out of the Ordinary Outback, will continue its expansion by opening its sixth accommodation property in March next year — the Broken Hill Outback Resort.

Overlooking the Barrier Ranges and sturt-desert-pea-laden plains 13 kilometres east of Broken Bill, the cabin, caravan and camping park will surround the historic Mt Gipps Hotel, which was built in 1890 but closed in 1987.

Work worth $5 million is now underway to restore the former hotel, which will boast a bar, restaurant and reception.

Landscaping work and cabin construction has started on the Barrier Highway property, which will also feature a swimming pool and facilities for campers and caravaners. The popular Outback Astronomy tourist attraction, which offers guided views of the stars at night, is just four kilomtres away.

Out of the Ordinary Outback encompasses an outback tour company, Tri State Safaris, The Argent motel in Broken Hill, Warrawong tourist camp and cabins at Wilcannia on the Darling, the iconic White Cliffs Underground Motel, Cobar’s Copper City Motel, the Ivanhoe Hotel and an Out of the Ordinary Outback visitor centre in Broken Hill.

Phone 1300 688 225 or visit www.outoftheordinaryoutback.com.au.

 Tigerair’s Toby … the airline’s official Facebook messenger chatbot.

Tigerair Australia has introduced Toby as the airline’s official Facebook messenger chatbot — a face designed to help customers search and book the best-value flights, retrieve existing itineraries, and answer questions on common topics such as baggage allowances and how to check in for a flight.

To start a conversation with Toby, who is named after Tigerair’s mascot, simply visit Toby’s page on the airline’s home page or its Facebook page. Alternatively, users can also chat to Toby through Facebook Messenger.

Once users make it clear that they want to chat to Toby, he will reply with a welcome message and there will be some quick-action buttons outlining the functions he can provide.

A ‘search flights’ button, for instance, will be available to users.

Toby will also complete an up-to-the-minute flight-availability search based on the information provided by the user, who can then select the flight they wish to travel on and be transferred to Tigerair’s online booking engine.

Visit www.tigerair.com.au.

 Veriu Central … a new hotel being converted from the heritage-listed Wentworth House.

Veriu Hotels & Suites has announced that a new 110-room hotel located at the gateway to Surry Hills, near Sydney’s Central Station, will open in November.

Veriu Central is a $15 million conversion of the heritage-listed Wentworth House and will add to the thriving dining scene of this inner-city precinct, offering five restaurant and bar venues on-site.

Veriu Central is located at 75 Wentworth Avenue, and will remain true to the eccentric character of the building, combining old-world elegance with contemporary style.

Guests will be invited to check in at The Drawing Room, an eclectic and modern interpretation of a classic 1920s design, which combines the traditional hotel lobby space with a vibrant bar and eatery.

The heritage building boasted an opulent drawing room in the roaring 20s, created for entertaining guests with music, intellectual debate, drinking and laughter. Veriu’s The Drawing Room is designed to evoke the same feeling of conversation, frivolity and recreation.

Visit http://www.veriu.com.au/central.

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