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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

December 2, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Rydges Hotels & Resorts will open Rydges Pit Lane Hotel at South Australia’s The Bend Motorsport Park complex in April.

The park, just outside Adelaide, will host some of the country’s biggest motorsport races, including Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and Shannons National Championship.

The four-star hotel will be located in the main pit building, with the majority of the 100 rooms overlooking the track.

The 100 rooms will vary in configuration, from twin-share to king rooms and suites. All rooms will be well insulated with double-glazing to provide a sanctuary away from the race track when desired. When guests want to absorb the racing action they can open up doors to the balcony overlooking the pit lane and track.


 Professor Peter Harrison … “From our previous studies, we know that microscopic larvae, once settled, can grow into dinner-plate-size corals in just three years and become sexually reproductive.”

A ground-breaking coral reef experiment, likened to the world’s biggest IVF procedure, could be the answer to a healthy future for the Great Barrier Reef, which, at 70 million football fields in size, is the world’s largest living organism.

Professor Peter Harrison, the marine scientist who co-discovered coral spawning 35 years ago, conducted the oversized “fertility treatment”, at the Heron Island Research Station, with help from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

Professor Harrison this month captured and reared more larvae, taken from an earlier spawning event, in a study that has already shown signs of successful larval settlement.

This time around, mesh tents were used to veil the planted larvae to prevent them from floating to the surface.

“From our previous studies, we know that microscopic larvae, once settled, can grow into dinner-plate-size corals in just three years and become sexually reproductive.”

 The Hydro Majestic … a Blue Mountains icon has been thoroughly refurbished.

It would take a major seasonal upset indeed for it to be snowing at the Hydro Majestic, in the NSW Blue Mountains, over Christmas, but that isn’t going to stop the iconic property from being a major visitor drawcard during the festive season.

Many of the visitors will be drawn by its Christmas Day lunch offerings, including a grand three-tier feast in the ballroom.

It will feature a range of fresh seafood, charcutier selections, carvery and traditional Christmas desserts.

The price of $199 per adult ($149 per teenager and $85 per child) includes a three-hour beverage package, festive décor, bon bons and a special visit from Santa for the children.

There are a number of room choices available for those wishing to stay the night. A Heritage Room, for instance, is priced from $227 per night for two, including breakfast.

Phone   or visit

 The Torres Strait Islands … remote and rarely visited.

In addition to its low-cost Kimberley adventures off the north-west coast of Australia, Ahoy Buccaneers will next year debut a new six-night cruise through the remote and rarely visited Torres Strait Islands off the top of Cape York.

To mark the launch, Ahoy Buccaneers is offering a free night’s accommodation at four-star hotels on Horn Island, for people who book before December 22.

The 274 islands of the Torres Strait archipelago are scattered across a 150-kilometre stretch of ocean between Cape York and Papua New Guinea and are home to an abundance of marine life perfect for snorkelling and fishing.

Ahoy’s cruise will centre on the sheltered, southern islands of the group closest to the Australian continent.

Its 19-guest motor yacht Oceanic will take passengers on a round-trip cruise from Horn Island to unique and culturally rich islands where, included in the cost of the cruise, a local guide will each day showcase the diverse history of the Torres Strait Islands, from the early indigenous cultures and tales of headhunters to World War II sites.

Prices start at $2800 per person in a swag on the deck and from $3500 per person in a cabin twin-share.

Phone 08 9193 7650 or visit

 Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast … a no-fuss Christmas Day buffet lunch.

Heading to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for Christmas?

Consider, then, treating the family to a no-fuss Christmas Day buffet lunch in the Mudjimba Ballroom or Wandiny Room at Novotel Twin Waters Resort.

The buffet commences at mid-day and is priced from $169 per adult, including a 2.5-hour beverage package, and from $49 for children, including the opportunity to experience Santa’s workshop.

Phone 07 5448 8000 or visit

The iconic Taj Mahal … an absolute Indian highlight.

Viking Cruises has launched a new six-day pre- and post-cruise extension including Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

India’s ‘Golden Triangle’ extension is applicable on the 21-day ‘Passage to India’ itinerary and the 16-day ‘Across the Bay of Bengal’ itinerary.

Included are stops in the UNESCO-listed grand city of Fatehpur Sikri, and Agra, to experience the serenity of India’s most iconic structure, the Taj Mahal.

The 21-day ‘Passage to India’ itinerary departs from Athens to Mumbai on 19 August next year and is priced from $11,195 per person twin-share in a Deluxe Veranda suite.

This cruise includes nine guided tours in six countries.

The 16-day ‘Across the Bay of Bengal’ cruise departs from Mumbai to Bangkok on 8 September and is priced from $7795 per person twin-share.

The six-day extension is priced from $2539 per person twin-share.

Phone 138 747 or visit

 Traversing an enormous volcanic caldera on the island of Nisyros.

Archaeological tour specialist Peter Sommer Travels will next year explore the fascinating Dodecanese islands of Greece, both on foot and on a traditional wooden gulet cruise.

Led by Dr Michael Metcalfe, a specialist in ancient history and the Mediterranean, the eight-day ‘Walking and Cruising the Dodecanese’ tour brings together the best experiences of the area: the elegant, relaxed pleasure of a gulet cruise, the thrill of walking through breathtaking landscapes, the region’s fascinating multi-faceted history, the joy of swimming in the blue waters of the Aegean, and the delights of fresh local cuisine.

The tour visits five islands clustered in the Northern Dodecanese region.

On Nisyros, for instance, the tour follows the fertile slopes of an enormous volcanic caldera and enters a spectacularly located ancient Greek fortress.

Fares start at about $4900 per person twin-share.


Pangolin Khwai Camp … solo travellers can save about $130 per night.

Solo travellers can save about $130 per night at the new Pangolin Khwai Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta ecosystem.

Pay from about $2200 for a four-day package in a single-use Meru-style tent, with full board and laundry, twice daily game drives (only four guests per vehicle), night drives, walking safaris and a Mokoro cruise, complimentary use of a DSLR Camera and telephoto lens, memory cards for cameras as required, all transfers and all park, conservancy fees and tourism levies.

The camp is located on a private concession and game drives can traverse across a huge area with the ability to off-road at special sightings as well go on night drives.

The offer is valid for bookings made before December 31 and for travel from April 1 to June 15.


 Swimming with whales and yoga on the beach … experience both in idyllic Tonga.

Book by December 15 and save $600 per couple to swim with wild whales in the languid lagoons of Tonga with Majestic Whale Encounters on the company’s new ‘Whale Swim and Yoga Retreat’ package.

The eight-day itinerary next September will see guests spend a week at a secluded sanctuary in Tonga, flanked by white, palm-lined beaches.

A highlight of the new package will be four days spent swimming with the gentle and playful humpbacks in Tonga’s warm, tropical lagoons.

Guests will stay six of the nights at an eco-resort on the off-the-grid island of Ha’apai, where they can choose between glamping-style tents or luxury wooden fales.

Daily yoga will take place in a purpose-built pavilion, which has a high roof for plenty of air flow, and situated close enough to hear the lapping of the waves. Beach yoga will also be on offer, providing a beautiful setting to stretch and meditate as the sun sets.

During the stay at the resort, guests will also have access to kayaks and paddle boards, as well as a nearby reef to snorkel in.

The price of from $3700 per person twin-share includes all main meals, as well a night at the airport hotel.

Phone 0405 594 253 or visit

 The Warwick Fiji … experience a five-star resort for five nights from $579 per person twin-share.

Save nearly 50 per cent — and have kids stay free — on a five-night package to Fiji’s five-star Warwick with TravelOnline.

Pay from $579 per person twin-share, including meet-and-greet with shell lei garland at Nadi airport, return airport transfers, free wi-fi, buffet breakfast daily, free meals and kids club program for children up to12 years and bonus 45-minute massage for two.

The special offer is valid for sale until February 28 and for travel until December 25 this year and again from January 4 until March 31 next year.

The Warwick Fiji is located on Fiji’s famous Coral Coast, a 90-minute drive from Nadi International Airport.

Phone 1300 883 887 or visit

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