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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

October 14, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Experience Indigenous culture with an immersive summer program at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

On November 4 and December 16, join an Aboriginal art class, with an experienced Aboriginal educator, and be inspired by traditional Indigenous art concepts and the environment around you.

Using materials provided — including sticks, ochre, grasses and bark, as well as paints and natural brushes, visitors will create a unique piece of art to take home.

The classes run for two hours and are priced at $40.

On weekdays from 8-19 January there are also classes for kids in bush-tucker pizza. Kids will explore the Cadi Garden to find out about plants used by Aboriginal people for food and shelter, and then make their own delicious pizza using native ingredients to add flavour.


An intriguing juxtaposition … Cockatoo Island’s historic Bolt Wharf crane silhouetted by New Year’s Eve fireworks. Image: Ian Evans.

Celebrate New Year’s Eve on Cockatoo Island, Sydney’s Harbour only island where you can stay overnight, and watch the fireworks from a spectacular location right in the heart of the harbour.

There are glamping, camping and BYO camping options available, as well as a variety of activities and entertainment to make the night an unforgettable experience.

Enjoy a two-night getaway as you explore the island and camp in style, with activities running from December 30 through to January 1.

Join in the guided tours exploring the island’s convict and shipbuilding histories, games and crafts for the kids, historic steam-crane demonstrations, movies in the Wolverine Cinema and a live DJ on New Year’s Eve.

There’s also a selection of food-and-drink options, with pop-up stalls and food trucks for this special event.

The two-night packages are priced from $450 to $2400 for up to six people.


 A fabled sight … a jabiru takes off in Kakadu.

Book a Top End walking tour with Park Trek before December 15 and save 20 per cent on 2018 departures.

Destinations for the company’s five- and nine-day fully accommodated tours include Kakadu, Arnhem Land, Nitmiluk and Litchfield, with tariffs including transport, meals, guides and glamping-style accommodation.

Enjoy a cruise on Yellow Water Billabong and Corroboree Billabong, swim in crystal clear waters of Gunlom in Kakadu and marvel at ancient rock art at Injalak Hill in mystical Arnhem Land.

Walk among monsoon rainforest, through sandstone escarpments and past ancient Aboriginal art sites. There are also plenty of opportunities for sightseeing, swimming, bird watching, photography and wildlife spotting.

The five-day tours are priced from $2280 per person twin-share, including the discount, while nine-day tours start from $2776 per person twin-share.


Spectacular action … seaside racing in the Rockingham Beach Cup

Seaside Rockingham, on the West Australian coast just south of Perth, will hold its second Beach Cup horse-racing carnival from November 10-12, starting with a golf tournament on Secret Harbour’s traditional links-style course, with small pot bunkers, rolling fairways amid the natural sand dunes and spectacular ocean views.

The Peel Cycling Club will run a criterium on the Saturday on a course with tight corners but one which enables high speeds to be reached.

Other highlights of the program include a waterfront community fair and art show, which will feature buskers, street performers, sculptors, photographers, wood turners, a blacksmith, pottery and glass displays and local food providers, plus a lavish black-tie gala dinner and charity auction.

The highlight of the weekend will be the race meeting on the Sunday, with a festival foot race between the fifth and sixth horse races.

Two marquees will be erected near the finishing line. These will accommodate 450 people in the general-admission area and 200 in the separate VIP area.


 The Woodbridge Smokehouse … more than 75 years turning out a premium product.

The Woodbridge Smokehouse, a half-hour drive south-east of Hobart, has been renowned for more than 75 years for the quality of its fine smoked seafood.

Now visitors can enjoy the produce at its new Taste House, including ocean trout and atlantic salmon straight from the pristine surrounding waters.

The smokehouse is set on a 25-acre apple orchard and features traditional hand-smoking processes using a mixture of local hard woods, including shavings from the apple orchard.

The Taste House is open weekdays from 10am-4pm, noon-4pm on Saturdays, and by appointment on Sundays.

On Thursdays and Fridays there are ‘Go behind the Production’ tours for groups of four to eight. Tours last approximately an hour and cost $45 per person, including tasting samples.

Phone (03) 6267 4960 or visit

 Metro Hotel Tower Mill … special offer for families.

Brisbane’s Metro Hotel Tower Mill has a ‘Show Family Escape’, valid for a family of four in a family room, priced from $176 per night.

The offer is ideal for families and also includes complimentary wi-fi, kids’ activity pack and extended check-out to 11am.

Show tickets must be purchased separately.

Phone 1800 00 4321 or visit

 Japan … a land of immense variety and beauty.

Wendy Wu Tours is offering a free upgrade to Cathay Pacific Premium Economy class on selected tours to Japan next year.

The offer is valid, for instance, on the company’s fully inclusive 14-day ‘Discover Japan’ Classic Tour, which is priced from $9540 per person twin-share and takes in Tokyo, Kyoto, Mt Fuji, Nara, Takayama, Koyasan, the samurai city of Kanazawa, and feudal Osaka.

Bookings must be made by November 30.

Phone 1300 318 203 or visit

 Paris … easily reached on a Eurorail pass.

Melbourne-based International Rail is offering a range of deals on Eurail passes purchased before December 29 and valid for travel over the coming festive and ski seasons, and indeed until the end of August.

They include discounts of 20 per cent on the Eurail Global Pass range, the Select Pass range for two, three and four countries, and the One Country Pass range — all available in both first and second class for adult, youth and saver passes.

The Eurail Global Flexi Pass, for instance, allows five or seven days travel over a one-month period or 10 or 15 days of travel to use over a two-month period through 28 countries in Europe, including France, Italy and Germany. Pay from $69 per person per day on a 10-day pass over two months.

The Eurail One Country pass is perfect for those only needing to travel by train through one country and are often a cheaper alternative to buying individual fares. It is available in 24 countries including Czech Republic, Spain, Poland and the Greek islands. A Eurail Italy Pass is priced from $46 per person.

Phone 1300 387 245 or visit

An unusual but safe area for a picturesque walk … the Tatayama-Murodo Road in springtime.

Get onto the ‘Roof of Japan’ in springtime by staying in Japan’s highest hotel, located  2450 metres above sea level on Mt Tatayama, in the Central Alps of Honshu.

Toursgallery’s ‘Best of Japan’ tour will visit the area in May next year, when the Tatayama-Murodo Road is cleared of snow and traffic and turns into an ice canyon, with snow walls up to 12 metres high creating an unusual but safe area for a picturesque walk.

The tour also includes Kyoto, Mt Fuji, Nagasaki, castles, volcanoes, rural villages and flower-filled gardens.

Prices for the 17-day escorted small-group tour start at $10,850 per person twin-share ex Tokyo.

Phone 1300 307 317 or visit

 Ovation of the Seas … plenty to do between ports.

Save more than $4600 per couple and a get a free full-day tour of the Great Wall if you book before this October 30 on’s 28-day voyage next October  from Beijing to Sydney aboard Ovation of the Seas.

The price of $4699 per person twin-share includes one-way flight from Sydney to Beijing, with all taxes and charges, airport transfers and a two-night stay at the Hotel Beijing NUO before the voyage.

The cruise sector includes all meals and entertainment, and makes port calls at Okinawa, Taipei, Hong Kong, Manila, Boracay, Singapore (overnight), Fremantle, Adelaide and Hobart.

Entertainment includes bands, musicians, DJs and theme nights, with simulated skydiving and surfing, rock climbing, pools and sports zones.

Phone 1300 369 848 or visit

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