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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

December 9, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

The Art Series Hotel Group has opened its eighth art-inspired hotel, The Chen, in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill.

Named after and inspired by the Chinese-Australian abstract artist, Zhong Chen, the 100-room hotel reflects the artist’s fun and relaxed persona. The hotel also celebrates the ethnic diversity of Box Hill, with Chen’s bold art representing his own trans-cultural identity.

The art-inspired boutique hotel boasts 100 self-contained open-planned and apartment style suites, a rooftop pool with sundeck, gymnasium, plus conference and events facilities.

Guests have the choice of two dining options, lashings of Chen artworks, in-house art libraries, and a dedicated art channel. For those keen to discover more about the hotel’s namesake, in-house art curators and advocates will offer free tours.


 Made for adrenaline junkies … a jet boat ride on Lake Macquarie.

Lake Macquarie, just south of Newcastle, has plenty to offer for adrenaline junkies and fans of the great outdoors this summer.

In the sky, for instance, take a solo or tandem ride at Newcastle’s closest beach skydive, enjoying stunning beach views as you leap from 15,000 feet with Skydiving Newcastle.


Manwhile, back on land, take a mountain adventure with AAA Horse Riding.

From one-hour lessons and full-day rides through to family outings, school camps and overnight stays, guests can explore the foothills of the beautiful Watagan Mountains and surrounding rainforest on horseback.


On the lake itself, experience a dare-devil jet-boat spin, complete with full-circle spins, power brake stops and fun fish tails — or even get out on the ocean — with Jet Buzz.

Or you can opt for something much more sedate by hiring a kayak or paddleboard.


For general info, phone 1800 802 044 or visit

 Maggie Beer … will return to Southern Ocean Lodge to lead the KI Food Safari.

South Australia’s favourite foodie Maggie Beer will return to Southern Ocean Lodge to lead the KI Food Safari on Kangaroo Island in August next year.

The safari is part of a menu of special celebrations in the 10th year of operations for the luxury lodge, and will run over seven nights, combining the elegant cliff-top luxury of Southern Ocean Lodge with daily expeditions to the gourmet producers of Kangaroo Island.

Southern Ocean Lodge Executive Chef Asher Blackford will lead the safari alongside Maggie Beer. Former Lodge Chef Tim Bourke, who conceived the local-produce philosophy, will also make a guest appearance.

A highlight will be a special dinner created by The Lane Vineyard’s Executive Chef James Brinklow, presented with matched wines from the acclaimed Adelaide Hills winery.

Expeditions include a visit to the Island Pure sheep dairy, a long lunch at Lifetime Private Retreats on the north coast and an experience of the ground-breaking Aquaculture Skills Centre at Parndana School where senior students produce sustainable barramundi and culinary herbs for supply to the lodge.

The KI Food Safari is priced from $8400 per person twin-share, including seven nights at Southern Ocean Lodge, return flights between Adelaide and Kangaroo Island, a daily itinerary of excursions, produce tastings and demonstrations, all dining and premium beverages.

Phone 02 9918 4355 or visit

 Sydney Harbour … a truly iconic venue.

It’s official — Sydney is one of the best places to visit in the world, according to global travel magazine, National Geographic Traveler, which has revealed its hotly anticipated ‘Best of the World’ list of 21 global destinations for 2018.

“Recognition on this prestigious list will continue to raise the profile of Sydney as a global visitor destination as we work towards the NSW Government’s goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure to the State by 2020,” said Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Adam Marshall.

National Geographic Traveler’s ‘Best of the World’ 2018 list was compiled following a competitive selection process that involved nominations from the magazine’s worldwide network of editors, writers and explorers.

 WOMADelaide … an iconic open-air festival set in Adelaide’s Botanic Park.

WOMADelaide, an iconic open-air festival set in Adelaide’s Botanic Park, is an award-winning celebration of the very best of the world of music, arts and dance.

The program features performances and workshops on seven stages by the world’s best traditional and contemporary musicians, dancers and DJs, KidZone, street theatre and visual artists, the Taste the World program, The Planet Talks environmental discussions, Electrolounge, Artists in Conversation and about 100 food, retail and charity stalls.

The sky above WOMADelaide will be transformed into a wonderland in 2018, with Gratte Ciel’s Place Des Anges, unleashing a firework of feathers over the park, as the angels descend amongst a flurry of white magic.

Long after the angels leave, the blanket left behind will be a reminder of the beautiful aerial ballet that took place.


 Icelandic charm … The village of Funningur.

Beyond Travel has added a new small-group tour of Iceland to its product range for 2018, and is offering a bonus $700 in Discover More Travel Vouchers per couple for bookings made by December 29.

The 12-day ‘Grand Tour of Iceland’ is a round-trip journey from Reykjavik travels the circumference of the country, showcasing some of most stunning waterfalls, geysers, boiling mud pools, lava fields, lagoons, geo-thermal caves and black-sand coastlines.

It includes popular highlights such as the Golden Circle, the Blue Lagoon and a boat ride amongst floating icebergs on the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon, also takes travellers off the beaten track to the sparsely populated and spectacular west-fjords region, visiting the red-sand beach at Rauoisandur, the lava fields and volcanic craters of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, and Dynjandi waterfall with its seven levels of plunging water.

Priced from $8695 per person twin share, the package includes a range of accommodation such as charming guesthouses, country lodges and farm accommodation with daily breakfast and dinners, guided tours and return transfers.

Phone 1300 363 554 or visit

 Historic Kailua village … turns into a festive marketplace.

Once a month, usually of the third Sunday, from 1pm to 6pm, Alii Drive, in Kona’s historic Kailua village, on Hawaii’s Big Island, becomes a festive, pedestrian-only outdoor marketplace.

More than 100 Kokua Kailua vendors gather from Kailua Pier to Hualalai Road to showcase local shopping, entertainment and delicious munchies. Local artisans, crafters, musicians and merchants welcome the crowd.

I know Kona quite well and it really does provide a fun atmosphere … and some great coffee.


Mongolia … meet local nomadic families and learn about their traditional way of life.

World Expeditions has announced a new Mongolia adventure, to be led by ABC radio personality Adam Spencer.

Spencer will escort the 15-day tour on which guests will camp on the Mongolian steppes and meet local nomadic families and learn about their traditional way of life.

Travelling in the company of self-confessed ‘numbers nerd’ and author of World of Numbers and Big Book of Numbers, the trip is timed to coincide with the famous Mongolian Nadaam Festival.

Departure is from Ulaanbataar costs from $5990 per person twin-share.

Phone 1300 720 000 or visit

Sanctuary Sun Boat IV … following the mighty Nile from Aswan to Luxor.

A bucket-list destination for centuries, Egypt’s ancient past lives on in the majestic monuments and relics created by one of the most impressive civilisations history has seen.

A Nile cruise is the perfect way for first-timers to see Egypt’s many splendours. Follow the mighty Nile from Aswan to Luxor as it flows through the heart of Egypt aboard Sanctuary Retreats’ award-winning Sanctuary Sun Boat IV, visiting highlights including the Valleys of the Kings and Queens, the Temple of Karnak, the Unfinished Obelisk, Philae and Luxor.

Book by January 31 to save 35 per cent on any 2018 three-night or seven-night sailings.

Prices start at about $750 per person twin-share for a three-night cruise and at about $1735 per person twin-share for a seven-night cruise.


Pitcairn Island’s Bounty Bay … one of the most remote destinations in the world.

Aranui Cruises has added a cruise to one of the most remote destinations in the world, Pitcairn Island, as part of its 2019 program of 20 voyages in the South Pacific.

It’s the first time the Tahitian adventure cruise line has offered a different itinerary from its regular round-trip voyage from Papeete to the Marquesas, Society and Tuamotu islands, and marks the first new destinations added to the program since Bora Bora was introduced in 2015.

The line’s 125-metre-long mixed cargo and passenger vessel Aranui 5 will start the year with a new 13-day round-trip cruise from Papeete to Pitcairn Island departing on January 10 and priced from $7280 per person twin-share.

The one-off voyage includes the line’s inaugural calls to the palm-fringed crystal-clear lagoons of Anaa and Amanu in the Tuamotus, Mangareva and Aukena in the Gambiers, which both offer pristine lagoons perfect for black pearls, and Raivave and Rapa in the Austral Islands, known for their intricate weavings.

All guests will receive a highly sought-after Pitcairn stamp in their passport.


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