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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

December 16, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Adelaide Festival, which will next year run from March 2-18, welcomes the return of its Palais venue with a line-up of live music, lunchtime forums and special events set to draw crowds to the beautiful Adelaide Riverbank from sunrise until sunset and beyond.

Transforming its look and feel from early in the morning until late at night, in any one 24-hour cycle the Palais becomes a funky floating nightclub, long-lunch haven, live music and dance hotspot, breakfast sanctuary, lively centre for debate, and go-to meeting place — and once again is set to become the beating heart of the Adelaide Festival.

The Palais’ Long Lunches invite diners to enjoy the art of hospitality as leading guest chefs thrill with their latest culinary creations and stories, presented in the ultimate Adelaide riverbank setting.

The Palais will be open to the general public free of charge.


 Evandale … hairy streets if you’re on a massive penny farthing with no brakes. Image: Rob Burnett.

The way a wheel used to turn about 100 years ago, versus the way it turns now couldn’t be more different.

And that’s exactly why the historic northern Tasmanian village of Evandale celebrates the slightly daunting penny-farthing bicycle with a big village fair and racing program on February 24.

The fair will be in its 34th year, and the National Penny Farthing Championships attracts competitors and enthusiasts from across Australia and around the world, with the first race being run in 1983 around the hairy village street.

Well, they’re hairy if you’re on a massive penny-farthing with no brakes.

There’s also a grand parade, vintage-car display, kids activities, colonial costumes and lots of delicious food.


 Noosa Main Beach … will be the centre of attention for the food festival next May.

The 2018 Noosa Food & Wine Festival will run from May 17-20, with more than 35 events showcasing some of Australia’s best chefs in beautiful locations throughout the town.

Events will take place at the new Festival Village, under the Noosa Tipis on Noosa Main Beach, along Hastings Street for the Long Lunch, in signature restaurants and throughout the Noosa hinterland along produce and brewery trails.

Discover some of Noosa’s best restaurants and their famous tastes right in the Festival Village across the weekend, which this year includes a beer-and-cider corner with some of the region’s best craft brewers showing their wares.

Visit see 

 Australia is well represented in Culture Trails … looking over the Victorian town of Bright, from Huggins Lookout.

One of Lonely Planet’s most recent books, Culture Trails, explores the world’s most exciting cultural hubs and has Australia represented by Adelaide (“Australia’s Live Music City”), Country Victoria (Ned Kelly’s Bushranger Trail), the Northern Territory (Indigenous Art), and the gothic legacy of Tasmania.

“When we travel,” said a Lonely Planet spokesperson, “the cultures of the countries we visit are usually what we notice first, and it is often what inspires us to visit in the first place. The memories we take home with us may be of artisans hammering on the streets, historic architecture looming around a plaza, or music wafting from a back-alley doorway. Culture exists everywhere, and it means everything to the curious traveller.”

In the tradition of Lonely Planet’s Wine Trails (2015) and Food Trails (2016), this new book features itineraries that include expert recommendations, with maps and practical details of how to get there and where to stay across a number of the world’s inspirational culture trails.


The ReefSleep experience … offers the chance to slumber under the stars on a pontoon located on the picturesque Hardy Reef.

Cruise Whitsundays has relaunched its popular Great Barrier Reef under-the-stars experience.

The ReefSleep experience provides travellers with the chance to slumber under the stars on a pontoon located on the picturesque Hardy Reef, 40 nautical miles from shore.

The fully refurbished Heart Pontoon offers a new gourmet experience, with guests able to choose from an a la carte menu showcasing some of the finest local produce and fresh seafood.

The ReefSleep experience starts at 3pm when the day snorkelling tour of the Outer Reef concludes and you wave goodbye to others returning by boat to Airlie Beach.

Sip champagne as the sun sets and be immersed in the colour and wonder of this World Heritage region as spectacular marine creatures come to life at nightfall.

The two-day, one-night ReefSleep experience offers daily departures with adult prices starting at $499.


 The bridge at Kinosaki under snow … unique old-world charm. Image: Shogo Nishiyama.

Enticing culture, amazing food and unique old-world charm should make the Kinosaki Onsen (hot springs) high on every Japan bucket list, and with the ski season just around the corner now could be the time to tick it off.

The onsen town is an ideal add-on to a ski holiday, allowing travellers to experience two of Japan’s most important drawcards — skiing and culture — in one trip.

And what better place to warm yourself up after a frosty ski holiday, than in some of the world’s finest onsens?

Remember, though, to dress the part. It is tradition for visitors to wear a yukata, a casual summer garment, during their stay in a ryokan. To complete the look, slip on a pair of geta (Japanese wooden sandals).


 Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa … surrounded by lush vegetation and just a short walk from the beach.

Escape to the sandy beaches of Thailand’s Phuket for six nights, three of them free, at Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa.

Pay from $279 per person twin-share, including accommodation, full breakfast daily, free dinner on all nights, free wi-fi, return airport transfers and the choice of either a two-hour Thai massage for two or a five-hour Phuket tour for two.

The deal is valid for sale until March 31, and for travel from April 1 to October 31.

Surrounded by lush vegetation and just a short walk from the beach, Karon Beach Resort & Spa offers three large swimming pools, two swim-up pool bars and separate children’s pool, kids’ club, day spa, fitness centre, games lounge and complimentary shuttle bus service.

Phone 1300 883 887 or visit

 La Bella Vita in Venice … European Waterways’ itinerary includes premium seats to watch Georges Bizet’s Carmen in the Arena di Verona.

European Waterways will reintroduce its popular Opera Cruise next August for guests on board its hotel barge La Bella Vita.

The one-off seven-night itinerary is priced from about $6400 per person twin-share, including a cruise on the Po Valley in Venice, a stay in a four-star hotel prior to the cruise, dinner, and premium seats to watch Georges Bizet’s Carmen in the Arena di Verona, a Roman amphitheatre.

The cruise features a full day of sight-seeing in Venice, including a visit to the Arena Museo Opera, a museum dedicated to the theatrical and musical history of the art form, and dinner at a courtyard restaurant of the Palazzo Forti.

Other highlights of the itinerary include a tour of the Gran Teatro La Fenice, a history-rich opera house that saw the premieres of famous pieces by composers such as Rossini and Verdi.

Phone 1800 828 050 or visit

 The 2018 ‘RAW: almond’ … top chefs will take the helm in the kitchen.

Aussie foodies scouring the globe for the ‘next big thing’ may have found it in Canada’s central province of Manitoba, where ‘RAW: almond’ will take place from January 24 to February 13.

Manitoba’s capital city of Winnipeg launched the concept in 2013 as the only pop-up restaurant of its kind in North America, where guests feast on multi-course meals, prepared by some of Canada’s finest chefs, served up in an elaborate tent perched on the fork of the frozen Assiniboine and Red Rivers.

The 2018 ‘RAW: almond’ features a large dining tent with seating for 30, where top chefs from Winnipeg, Canada and the US will take the helm in the kitchen for two nights each, with a weekend brunch also served.

Aussie travellers seeking to combine this unique foodie experience with the spectacular Northern Lights can also participate in ‘RAW: churchill’ from March 2-10.

At 58° North latitude, near Churchill, Manitoba, dinner is served by a leading Canadian chef, Mandel Hitzer, inside the walls of a 300-year-old fort under the dancing northern lights.


 Daniel McLaughlin and Julia Mellor … offering exciting new Korean alcohol-and-brewing tours.

For those travelling to Korea for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games — as well as other times throughout the year — there are some exciting new alcohol-and-brewing tours being offered by an Australian expatriate in Seoul, Julia Mellor, and her partner Daniel McLaughlin through the The Sool Company.

Julia, who comes from Brisbane and has been promoting Korean traditional alcohol over the past five years, has trained at a number of institutes in Korea, including under Grand Master Park Rok Dam.

The Sool Company — the name means alcohol in Korean — is offering tours centred on making makgeolli, the traditional rice wine, on a three-hour traditional Korean alcohol tasting, and also a master brewers tour.

Or you can experience the full spectrum of Korean traditional alcohol in one tasting-and-dining journey, in which Julia and Daniel take guests on a cultural and culinary exploration of makgeolli, takju, cheongju and soju, paired with an array of local delicacies.





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