It has to be one of the most stunning ways to ring in the New Year — flying over the pristine icy wilderness of the Antarctic in a chartered Qantas 747 on a 12-hour trip of some 10,000 kilometres.
This year, the New Year’s Eve flight departs Melbourne, with additional flights from Sydney of February 7 and Melbourne on February 14.
All the time over Antarctica is in daylight, hopefully bright daylight that shows the awesome spectacle at its very best.
Prices start at $1200 per person. Phone 1800 633 449 or visit www.antarcticaflights.com.au.
The 25-cabin Galileo … exploring the Aegean.
Beyond Travel is offering early-bird discounts of up to $800 per cabin on MS Galileo’s 2016 eight-day ‘Jewels of the Cyclades’ Aegean cruises for bookings made by February 25.
The itinerary takes the 25-cabin mega-yacht Galileo on a return trip from Athens to some of the lesser known Greek Islands such as Paros, Kythnos and Syros, as well as the famous islands of Santorini and Mykonos.
Early-bird prices start at $2510 per person twin-share, including two meals a day, tea/coffee and mineral water throughout the day, use of fishing and snorkelling equipment, services of an experienced captain and crew, and port charges.
Phone 1300 363 554 or visit www.beyondtravel.com.au.
Bluewater Panglao resort in Bohol … setting for an idyllic Philippines beach holiday.
Singapore Airlines Holidays is offering a range of Philippines beach resort packages.
Pay, for instance, from $2068 per person twin-share from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane ($1930 ex Perth) for a seven-night package at the eco-focused Bluewater Panglao resort in Bohol.
The offer is valid for travel until December 21 this year and from January 11 until March 23 next year, with some blackout dates applicable.
Phone 1300 728 998 or visit www.siaholidays.com.au.
Hit the road in New Zealand with DriveAway’s deals.
DriveAway Holidays is offering a selection of New Zealand self-drive deals for bookings made in October, such as 15 per cent off selected car-hire deals.
Other car-hire deals include zero excess and free GPS rental.
Also, save up to 40 per cent off selected motorhome rentals when collecting in Christchurch and returning to Auckland, Queenstown or Christchurch between March and mid-September next year.
Phone 1300 723 972 or visit www.driveaway.com.au.
Eden … an historic whaling town on the NSW South Coast.
The Sapphire Coast, around the south-eastern NSW town of Eden, will hold its biggest whale festival yet from October 30 to November 1.
The old whaling port and Twofold Bay welcome thousands of whales each year on their annual migration south after calving in the warm waters off Australia’s east coast
The Eden Whale Festival combines whale watching from the shore and sea along with live shows, hands-on family fun, street theatre, film, music, seafood and local produce.
Highlights include heading out with NSW’s longest-running whale-watching operator, Cat Balou, exploring the Killer Whale Trail, joining a sea-to-plate tour, and taking a kayak tour of the Towamba River estuary.
A French favourite … Pommery Champagne house.
Globus has launched its 2016 collection of European holidays, and is offering early-bird savings of 10 per cent on all holidays booked by December 1, allowing savings of up to $1892 per couple, with additional savings of up to $600 per couple when tours are combined with international airfares.
The program includes a string of new ‘Local Favourites’ — special experiences that take guests behind the scenes for an insight into a region’s traditions and culture.
Among them is a peek and a tasting in the cellars of France’s famous Pommery Champagne house, included in the nine-day ‘Paris, Champagne & the French Countryside’, which is priced from $2339 per person twin-share.
Phone 1300 230 234 or visit www.globus.com.au.
Tom Greenwell, grandson of founder Henry … absolutely loves his coffee. Image: Sandra Burn White.
Travelling the Kona Coast on Hawaii’s Big Island can be a little like doing a winery crawl through the Hunter or Barossa Valleys, except you’ll be tasting coffee instead of wine and you won’t need a designated driver.
It’s great fun and there are literally dozens of plantations open to the public for tours and ‘cuppings’, as the tastings are termed.
One of my favourites is Greenwell Farm, established by Henry Nicholas Greenwell, a British adventurer who was stuck in Honolulu in 1850 after a boating accident on his way to the Californian gold rushes — and, incidentally after unsuccessfully trying to purchase a sheep station in Australia.
It’s just been named in the top 10 food-factory tours in the US and really does put on an experience to justify that rating. Visit www.greenwellfarms.com.
Machu Picchu … an iconic South American highlight.
Save up to $2500 per couple with Eclipse Travel’s partner-flies-free packages to South America.
That means paying, for instance, from $5150 per person twin-share for the 14-day ‘South America Essentials’ trip, which includes destinations such as Machu Picchu, Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls and Rio de Janeiro.
The offer is valid for sale until November 11 and for travel from March to September next year.
Phone 1300 575 752 or visit eclipsetravel.com.au.
The Aqua Mekong … making one of the world’s great rivers even more of an adventure.
Aqua Expeditions has made cruising the Mekong even a greater adventure by adding bicycle and kayaking options to its sailings aboard Aqua Mekong through Vietnam and Cambodia.
Passengers can take eight-to-15-kilometre biking routes to say hello to a crimson robed monk, photograph stilted Khmer houses and ornately embellished pagodas or, perhaps, enjoy an invitation from a new friend to dine in their nearby home.
They can also take advantage of eight double-kayaks throughout various locations in Cambodia.
Phone 1800 243 152 or visit www.aquaexpeditions.com.
Seminyak luxury … the new five-star Trans Resort Bali.
Stay eight nights at the new five-star Trans Resort Bali in Seminyak and pay $1599 for two adults, with up to two under fives staying free.
The package includes daily breakfasts, return airport transfers, nightly cocktails in the rooftop bar, lunch at Mamasan, a degustation dinner and spa treatments.
Book by October 18 for travel through to December next year.
Phone 1300 889 900 or visit www.LuxuryEscapes.com.
Singapore … has been added to Spiceroads cycling offers.
Spiceroads Cycle Tours has added Singapore to its portfolio with the launch of three new short tours: a culture-vulture heritage revelation, an atmospheric evening jaunt and a challenging road bike ride, with each tour showing a different perspective of the city.
The four-hour ‘Cycling Singapore’s Heritage Trail’, for instance, takes in the main heritage sites, including Chinatown, Little India, Collyer Quay and Kallang River.
It is priced at about $70 and covers about 14 kilometres.
The tours include bike hire, snacks and drinks (lunch for the longer road bike tour) and a knowledgeable English-speaking guide.
A gondola ride through Venetian canals … part of ‘La Vita e Bella’ itinerary.
Worldwide Cruise Centres’ 18-night ‘La Vita e Bella’ combines Italian land touring with an 11-night Greece, Turkey and Malta cruise aboard Celebrity Constellation from Venice to Rome.
Prices start at $7799 per person twin-share ex Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth, including a full-day tour of Italy’s Lake Como region, visiting the towns of Como and Bellagio, plus hotel stays in Venice, Verona, Milan and Rome.
Special touches include a tour that skips the queues for the Colosseum, first-class train travel, a walking tour of Venice, a gondola ride through Venetian canals and a boat cruise on an Italian lake.