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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

September 23, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Air Adventure Australia offers 18 fully inclusive private Australian air safaris in its 2018 program portfolio, ranging from three to 14 days in duration and including new itineraries for its ‘Flinders and Gawler Ranges’ and ‘Grand Outback Photography’ tours.

The company prides itself on itineraries that are themed and timed to visit destinations at the optimum time of year.

Hence, the ‘Western Wedge Wildflower Safari’ will depart next September, when the majority of the state’s 12,000-plus wildflower species are in bloom.

This tour also features a two-night stay at Ningaloo Reef’s Sal Salis, with its spacious wilderness tents just metres from fringing coastal coral reef.

Each tour has a maximum of nine guests and a professional tour leader travels with the group for the entire journey.

Local guides — ranging from Aboriginal elders, to fourth-generation farmers, renowned archaeologists and conservation specialists — also share their experiences and knowledge.

Visit www.airadventure.com.au.

 Cairns Aquarium & Reef Research Centre … displays a number of critically endangered or rarely seen endemic species.

A journey that started six years ago with a visit to Far North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef has culminated in the opening of Cairns Aquarium & Reef Research Centre, Australia’s newest public aquarium.

Developed at a cost of $54 million, Cairns Aquarium is thought to be the only attraction of its kind to display a number of critically endangered or rarely seen endemic species, including emerald tree monitors, freshwater sawfish, Jardine River painted turtles, ribboned pipefish and the Oceanarium exhibit’s highlight, a school of scalloped hammerhead sharks.

Over 15,000 aquatic animals, fish, plants, and other organisms are housed within 71 live exhibits in the two-level facility that provides a two-and-a-half-hour journey through 10 habitats.

The facility is situated in the heart of Cairns CBD, with views of the Esplanade and Coral Sea.

Visit www.cairnsaquarium.com.au.

 Maria Island … a wildlife sanctuary with historic ruins, sweeping bays and dramatic cliffs.

With daylight rapidly lengthening, especially in higher latitudes, it’s certainly time to consider visiting Maria Island, just 30 minutes off Tasmania’s East Coast.

Access to this wildlife sanctuary with historic ruins, sweeping bays and dramatic cliffs, has been simplified by Encounter Maria Island offering a year-round ferry service with multiple sailings each day.

Take in attractions such as the Painted Cliffs and Fossil Cliffs, or one of the many other walks, and stay the night in the old penitentiary at Darlington.

You can book a bike to use on the island, or the ferry staff will help you lug a kayak over if you want to explore the water.

Visit www.encountermaria.com.au.

PIC: rock.jpg — Rosella and lychee petit gateaux … part of an exclusive Ayers Rock dining experience.

 

From October 22 to March 24, guests at Ayers Rock Resort will have the opportunity to dine in Mayu Wiru, a new fine-dining experience whose name translates as “beautiful flavour” and which is restricted to a maximum of 16 guests nightly.

The restaurant visit will be combined with a premium Field of Light experience.

The evening begins with champagne and bush-tucker-inspired canapés at a private lookout within the grounds of Sails in the Desert hotel, followed by a three-course Indigenous-inspired menu with matched wines, and transport to a dune top for a nightcap and panoramic views of the stunning Field of Light.

Prices start from $295, which includes return hotel transport, full menu, matched wines and entertainment.

Phone 1300 134 044 or visit www.ayersrockresort.com.au.

Travelodge Hotel Sydney Airport … relief for those who prefer a silent morning.

Looking for nothing but silence in the morning? The new Travelodge Hotel Sydney Airport, which has just opened at Mascot, may have the answer, with a Sensorwake alarm clock and the promise of a completely silent check-out.

The clock can be programmed to wake guests with nothing but the smell of grilling bacon or brewing coffee, while guests checking out simply refer to a ‘Silent Check-Out’ poster indicating choices such as ‘I need coffee’, ‘I need to settle my bill’, or ‘I missed my flight, can I stay another night?’.

The new 209-room hotel is located on the corner of O’Riordan Street and King Street in Mascot, 500 metres from domestic terminal entrances.

To celebrate the opening, there’s a 25 per cent discount and complimentary buffet breakfast. The offer is valid for bookings and travel to October 8.

Visit www.travelodge.com.au.

 Anvaya Beach Resort Bali … save 15 per cent on a five-night five-star escape.

Book with TravelOnline and save 15 per cent on a five-night five-star escape to the Anvaya Beach Resort Bali, plus receive a free room upgrade.

Pay from $459 per person twin-share, including buffet breakfast daily, free wi-fi, free kids’ club and return airport transfers by private car.

Guests also get the choice of an 80-minute spa treatment for two, Finns Bali day pass for two, Splash Waterpark day pass for two, white-water rafting adventure for two or watersports voucher for two.

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

Phone 1300 883 887 or visit www.travelonline.com.

The Sapphire Princess … 21-night double Baltic cruise.

Ecruising.travel is offering a 21-night Baltic double cruise ex London aboard the Sapphire Princess.

The cruise departs in June next year, but book by October 4 and receive a free two-night stopover at Raffles Dubai.

The first section of the cruise takes in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tallinn, Helsinki and Gdynia in Poland, with an overnight stay in the stunning Russian city of St Petersburg.

Then, after an overnight stay on board in London, set sail to explore many of the highlights of Norway, with port visits to Stavanger, Olden, Geiranger, Hellesylt and Bergen.

Prices start at $6639 per person twin-share, including airfares from Emirates, with the early-bird offer valid until October 4.

Phone 1300 369 848 or visit www.ecruising.travel.

The northern Mongolian grasslands … travellers can spend time with a nomadic family.

National Geographic Journeys has increased the scope of its portfolio and is offering 83 tours for 2018, including destinations such as Borneo and Mongolia, plus less travelled wildlife parks in Tanzania and Botswana.

In Mongolia, travellers will have the opportunity to spend time with a nomadic family in the Gobi Desert and try out traditional archery, meet with Buddhist monks and yak farmers, and learn from park rangers about efforts to reintroduce native Takhi horses to the wild.

A 14-day itinerary is priced from $5549 per person twin-share.

A new tour in Borneo will have travellers encountering orangutans, pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys and other unusual wildlife on excursions to nature reserves and a wildlife rehabilitation centre.

Visit www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com.

 Scenic Crystal in Budapest.

Travellers planning a European getaway next year only have until September 30 to take full advantage of Scenic’s early-bird offers and all-inclusive deals.

Guests won’t have to dip into their credit cards to enjoy a full range of luxury benefits on board and onshore, including complimentary top-shelf beverages, six dining options ranging from casual to fine, butler service, exclusive GPS devices for self-guided touring and commentary, the freedom of ebikes, plus Scenic Freechoice, Scenic Sundowner and exclusive Scenic Enrich experiences.

Set sail, for instance, on a 15-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest priced from $6995 per person twin-share — and fly free for all suite bookings on selected departures, or upgrade to business class from $3995 per person.

Visit www.scenic.com.au.

 The mighty Yangtze River … an increasingly popular component for Australians visiting China.

Helen Wong’s Tours is taking full advantage of Australia’s love affair with river cruising by using the seven-strong Victoria Cruises fleet for the Three Gorges component of its China program.

Each ship is air-conditioned, has a multi-lingual cruise director on board, and boasts outside cabins with private balconies and bathrooms. All meals are included, with a choice of two restaurants, along with wi-fi access.

The Three Gorges cruise is a feature, for instance of the company’s 15-day ‘Yangtze Wonders’ group tour, which also includes visits to Shanghai, Xian (home of the Terracotta Warriors) and Beijing. Until the end of November 2017 it is priced from $5750 per person twin-share ex Australia.

The cruise meanders along a picturesque 660-kilometre section of China’s most famous river, passing three majestic gorges and cliff-side temples, stopping at the world’s largest dam and cruising under a series of contemporary road bridges which connect traditional farming villages and towns.

Phone 9267 7833 or visit www.helenwongstours.com.

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