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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

September 30, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

The breeze along Hobart’s waterfront carries a thousand captivating stories of those that were there before — a cast of remarkable characters, each with an intriguing story to tell.

Some of these stories have been captured and shared in one of the city’s newest hotels, MACq 01, which brings the stories of 114 remarkable Tasmanians — including convicts, crooks and captains of industry — to life.

Flanking the Hunter Street wharf with views across the Derwent River and up to Mount Wellington, the hotel provides a full-on, immersive experience that will have Tasmania running deep through guests’ veins.

Dine in at Old Wharf restaurant, where head chef Simon Pockran will share some fascinating food yarns at the Chef’s Table, or sip at The Story Bar, which is adorned with old newspapers and plush seating.


 Ngurra Lodges … blending in with the landscape.

Sunshine Resort, located in the NSW mid-north coastal town of South West Rocks, has launched new luxury lodges that literally blend in with the landscape.

The seven Ngurra Lodges — ‘Ngurra’ means “place of home” in the local Dunghutti Aboriginal language — even boast an exterior decal that replicates the forest setting behind it.

The $1.6 million investment is the latest product innovation at Sunshine Resort, following last year’s introduction of permanent ‘Sunshine Tents’ to meet the growing demand for glamping-style holiday experiences.

The new two-storey Ngurra Lodges feature modern high-quality interior design fixtures and fittings, including leather lounges, modern artwork, three televisions, full kitchen and laundry facilities, ensuite bathroom and two large bedrooms that can sleep up to six, with bedding in the second room adaptable to accommodate larger family groups.

Attractions around the South West Rocks area include canoeing on the lagoon adjacent to the park, or cycling to town, exploring the National Park trails, Smoky Cape Lighthouse and historic Trial Bay Gaol. The nearby Macleay River is ideal for fishing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing and sailing.

Rates for the Ngurra Lodges start from $490 per night for up to six people.

Phone (02) 6566 6142 or visit

 De Salis Wines … will provide one of the highlights of the Orange Wine Festival.

I’m hardly surprised that touristic rail travel in booming in NSW.

The state has a vast network of passenger railway looking onto scenery ranging from desert landscapes to UNESCO-World-Heritage-listed Blue Mountains — and you don’t need to arrive at the nearest airport at least 90 minutes before take-off.

The Vino Express, for instance, will provide the opportunity to taste the food and wine of Orange en route to the Orange Wine Festival.

Departing from Sydney’s Central Station on Friday 20 October and returning to Sydney on Sunday 22 October, the Vino Express package includes food and wine tastings hosted by local growers and producers on board the train, two nights accommodation, behind-the-scenes vineyard and cellar door experiences and tickets to two of the festival’s signature events — ‘Festival Night Market’ and ‘Wine in the Vines’.


 An artist’s impression of the new Pinky’s Eco Retreat.

Visitors to Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth, will be able to enjoy stylish new environmentally conscious accommodation when Pinky’s Eco Retreat opens late next year, with the Rottnest Island Authority Board approving a beachside eco-tent resort.

Pinky’s Eco Retreat will be the first new accommodation to be built on Rottnest Island in 30 years.

Nestled behind the dunes of Pinky Beach, the retreat will retain Rottnest’s laid-back West Australian character in a series of 86 low-impact eco tents of varying sizes and styles and a beach club, interconnected by raised walkways.

Pinky’s will appeal to all budgets, providing a range of eco tents from luxury glamping to family accommodation, with prices will starting from about $100 per night.


 Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour … inspired by the area’s waterside heritage.

When Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour opens on October 6, directly opposite the new International Convention Centre, it will be the city’s first major internationally branded new-build hotel in more than 15 years.

Sydney architect Richard Francis-Jones has drawn inspiration from the area’s waterside heritage, reimagining iconic maritime motifs in a vibrant modern style in all 590 guestrooms of the $350 million property.

Esprit Noir lobby bar, located on the ground floor, offers an elegant space to indulge and relax, with a favourite cognac or cocktail before proceeding to the hotel’s restaurant for dinner. With the Parisian elegance of a French-inspired rotisserie and grill, Atelier by Sofitel will be the hotel’s signature dining restaurant, serving nouvelle French fare.

Exclusive to guests staying in Club Sofitel accommodation, Club Millesime Lounge, located at the very top of the hotel on level 35, will offer breathtaking views over Darling Harbour and the city.


Cycling in Croatia … UTracks predicts that electric bikes will revolutionise the active-travel industry in the next decade.

UTracks, one of Australia’s leading European active-holiday specialists, is predicting that electric bikes will revolutionise the active-travel industry there in the next decade.

UTracks General Manager Kate Baker said the electric bike trend had exploded in Europe in recent years, with e-bike sales on the continent more than doubling from 600,000 in 2010 to 1.35 million in 2016.

In response to this surge in popularity, UTracks will offer electric bikes on 80 per cent of its 187 cycling itineraries across Europe in 2018 — a huge jump from 2015, when UTracks offered ebikes on just a handful of its active bike holidays.

As part of its early-bird deals, UTracks is offering 10 per cent off a range of its 2018 European cycling itineraries. The offer applies to itineraries priced under $2000 per person for new bookings made before October 20.


The new Duoro Elegance cruising Portugal’s Duoro River.

A cruise along Portugal’s vineyard-lined Douro River on a new, five-star ship with European river cruise line, Riviera Travel, forms the centre-piece of a new fly-cruise-and-tour package from Australia to Portugal next April.

Riviera Travel has partnered with Cruise Traveller to create a 20-night package that showcases the rustic vineyards, cobblestone streets, baroque churches, ancient forts, terraced hills, medieval villages of the Douro Valley.

Cruise Traveller’s ‘Portugal Perfection’ package combines a six-night overland tour of Portugal, hotel stays in Lisbon and Porto, and a seven-night Douro River cruise aboard Riviera Travel’s new 126-guest river ship, Douro Elegance, which was  launched in March this year.

Including return flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane or Perth, the package is available from $11,195 per person twin-share, including a bonus of on-board drinks.

Phone 1800 507 777 or visit

 An adventure-seeker’s dream … riding a classic Enfield across the roof of the world.

Adventure seekers can travel across the towering peaks and stunning valleys of the Himalayas on a classic Royal Enfield motorbike with an Extreme Bike Tours’ package to northern India next year.

To mark the relaunch of the program after a three-year hiatus, the company is offering a saving of about $550 on the 16-day tour for bookings made by October 31.

Extreme Bike Tours is offering the unique thrill of journeying deep into the Himalayan mountains on a classic Royal Enfield 500cc Bullet that has been tailor made in India to handle the rough and winding roads of the Himalayas.

Adventure seekers will have the opportunity to open the throttle across the roof of the world as they travel through some of its loftiest mountain passes, including Khardung La in India which soars to 5600 metres.

The tour, will include 12 days of riding, is priced from about $4975 for licensed motorcycle riders, including accommodation, meals and fuel and local.


 Dawn at Angkor Wat … the best time to see one of the world’s most iconic structures.

Travelmarvel has launched its 2018/19 Vietnam and Cambodia program, featuring its popular Mekong River cruise along with extensions to places such as Japan, China and Myanmar.

The company is offering a special early-bird double-deal for bookings made before November 3 — fly free and receive two free nights accommodation on any tour over 12 days.

Explore the ancient culture and history of Cambodia before embarking on a leisurely journey winding down the mighty Mekong River aboard Travelmarvel’s premium river ship, La Marguerite, taking in the river’s floating markets, stilt houses and local culture.

A 12-night adventure is priced from $3995 per person twin-share.

Phone 1300 196 420 or visit

 Havana … a powerful magnet for Australian tourists.

Scenic has announced a new Cuban cruise itinerary departing Miami in October next year and featuring the new Scenic Eclipse, described as the ‘world’s first discovery yacht’.

The company’s 14-day ‘Cuba in Depth’ cruise has fares starting at $15,595 per person twin-share for the round-trip voyage, which will call at Havana, Isla de la Juventud, Cayo Largo Sur, Cienfuegos, Casilda, Santiago de Cuba and Antilla, and include several overnight calls.

Whilst in Havana, cruisers will be able to enjoy two exclusive Scenic ‘Enrich’ experiences — a private display of Cuban percussion drums and dancing, and a front-row seat at Castillo del Morro to witness the age-old tradition of the firing of the cannon, with the city lights as your backdrop.

Phone 138 128 or visit

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