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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

October 7, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

A surprise discovery has amazed and delighted tourism operators on the Great Barrier Reef.

Huge colonies of pristine coral have been discovered in a lagoon system about 100 kilometres off the coast of the Whitsundays mainland, causing excitement amongst reef experts and tourists.

The significant discovery took place after Daydream Island’s ‘Living Reef’ marine biologist Johnny Gaskell spotted a “deep blue circle” on Google maps and went to investigate.

Now, he hopes the coral — which includes huge colonies of Staghorn and Birdsnest corals that have been protected by the 20-metre deep lagoon — will help to recolonise other areas of coral on the reef.

“Inside the walls of this lagoon, which we estimate to be about 150 metres across and at least 20 metres deep, were huge colonies of extremely delicate but undamaged corals,” he said.


Grafton … pride of place during jacaranda time.

NSW is bursting with spring colour as wildflowers bloom and Sydney counts down to the start of its famous annual jacaranda season which sees the city bathed in a sea of purple blossoms.

The historic town of Grafton, located alongside the Clarence River on the NSW North Coast, will take centre stage with the Grafton Jacaranda Festival from October 28 to November 5. Highlights include the coronation of a jacaranda queen, a street parade with themed floats, markets, live performances and fireworks.

But you can also take a do-it-yourself jacaranda walking tour through Sydney, starting at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, passing through Circular Quay and The Rocks. View the stunning trees set against the backdrop of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour and historic cobblestone streets of The Rocks.


 Oceanic … offering Kimberley wet-season specials.

Thundering waterfalls and vast, empty coastal waters will greet passengers on Ahoy Buccaneers’ first two cruises for 2018 along the Kimberley coast, with bookings made by October 31 receiving a complimentary night’s accommodation before and after the cruise.

The low-cost cruise operator’s 19-guest motor yacht, Oceanic, will offer special 13-day wet-season cruises between Broome and Wyndham in February and March.

Every year, the monsoonal wet of the far north transforms the famous Kimberley coast waterfalls like King George Falls, Kings Cascades and Casuarina Falls into spectacular, thundering jets of water, enabling adventure-seekers to see and feel nature at its raw and powerful best.

Ahoy Buccaneer’s wet-season expeditions through the wild and remote islands of the Buccaneer and Bonaparte archipelagos also enable guests to experience the dramatic excitement of tropical storms, beautiful sunsets and lightning shows, and lush scenery.

The wet season is also devoid of larger cruise ships, leaving Ahoy Buccaneer’s privileged passengers to enjoy the region’s serenity alone.

Oceanic offers double bed and bunk cabins as well as the opportunity for passengers to sleep under the stars in deluxe swags in a mix of boat and beach locations each night.

Each of the 13-day cruises next February and March is available from $5000 per person (including for solos) in a swag and from $6600 per person twin-share in a cabin. Fares include meals, shore excursions and transfers.

Phone 08 9193 7650 or visit



Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters … a dramatic chase across the Australian deserts.

An ancient creation saga featuring a dramatic chase across the Australian deserts is at the heart of a ground-breaking exhibition, Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, which has opened at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

The exhibition showcases sections of five Indigenous Western and Central Desert songlines, utilising some 100 paintings and photographs, objects, song, dance and multimedia to narrate the story of the Seven Sisters, as they traverse the continent from west to east, through three states, three deserts and across some 500,000 square kilometres.

The exhibition features the world’s highest-resolution six-metre-wide travelling DomeLab under which visitors will be immersed in images of Seven Sisters rock art from the remote Cave Hill site in South Australia, animated art works, the transit of the Orion constellation, and the Pleiades star cluster.


Stairway to heaven … getting an after-dark view of Surfers Paradise.

The sight of sweeping Gold Coast beaches never gets old, especially when viewed from 270 metres above sea level.

Adrenalin junkies have been trekking up the 298 stairs of the Q1 Tower’s SkyPoint climb for five years, and they can now experience the glittering Surfers Paradise coastline by night.

The climb takes approximately 90 minutes to complete and costs $84 per person, running daily during school holidays, and on Fridays and Saturdays otherwise.


The Yorkshire Dales … stunningly attractive walking country.


On Foot Holidays has announced a new self-guided inn-to-inn walking route in northern England’s Yorkshire Dales.

The walk takes in pretty villages, market towns, country meadows with drystone walls, babbling brooks, moorland and the 12th-century remains of Fountains Abbey, the largest monastic ruins in the UK.

The route will be available to walk from May 1 next year and is now open for bookings.

Along the way, guests will stay in country pubs and comfortable B&Bs and eat well, with two French-chef-run establishments on the route to supplement the hearty Yorkshire fare.

Prices start at about $1240, including seven nights accommodation, breakfast daily and all luggage transfers.


Lake Titicaca … a large deep lake in the Andes, on the border of Peru and Bolivia.

Travelling Divas has included a 13-night ‘South American Adventure of a Lifetime’ in next year’s program of tours which give women the opportunity to explore some of the world’s most beautiful destinations while building their travel confidence in security-focused environments.

Next October’s package is priced from about $14,000 per person twin-share ex Quito (returning to Lima), including flights within South America, private transport throughout and a significant number of meals.

The journey begins in the colourful city of Quito, before a luxurious African-safari-style adventure to the unforgettable Galápagos Islands. From there, guests travel to Peru to explore the mystery and beauty of Cusco, and enjoy a private guided tour of the Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu.



Viking Ocean in Norway’s Geirangerfjord.

Viking Cruises has launched spring specials across its ocean and river cruises, with the sale valid to December 31.

River cruise offers include saving up to $6400 per couple on selected 2018 cruises. Also, fly free to Russia for the company’s popular 13-day ‘Waterways of the Tsars’ itinerary.

Ocean cruise offers include saving $1000 per couple on selected 2017-2019 cruises, including some of Viking’s most popular itineraries, such as the 15-day ‘Viking Homelands’, the 13-day ‘In Search of the Northern Lights’ and the 15-day ‘Into the Midnight Sun’.

Phone 138 747 or visit

 The Sea Princess … bringing Cruise Express guests back to Sydney in style.

Cruise Express is hosting a six-night rail-and-sail adventure from Sydney to Brisbane and back in March next year.

Prices start at $1890 per person twin-share, including a night in Sydney, a heritage rail journey from Sydney to Brisbane with an overnight hotel stay in Grafton, two nights in Brisbane including a river cruise aboard the Kookaburra Queen, and a cruise back to Sydney aboard the 2000-passenger Sea Princess.

Also included is morning tea in the Hunter Valley at the Paterson base of the Rail Motor Society, lunch at Taree, and dinner in Grafton by the Clarence River.


 Sailing off the southern coast of Sri Lanka.

G Adventures has launched a new program of group sailing tours along the southern coast of Sri Lanka.

The seven-day round-trip sailing adventure, next February ex Mirissa, can be combined with a land-based itinerary in Sri Lanka to create a 14-day land-and-sea getaway.

Highlights include Galle, a magnificent fort city on the south-west coast and Ussangoda National Park, the newest national park in Sri Lanka. Its red earth is said to be the result of an ancient asteroid that crashed into the land.

The seven-day sailing trip is priced from about $1995 per person twin-share, while the 14-day land-and-sea itinerary is priced from about $3400 per person twin-share.

Phone 0800 453 282 or visit

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