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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

December 23, 2017 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Explore Australia’s award-winning national attractions in Canberra and let your children learn the stories that have shaped the country.

Discover PlayUp’s new exhibition at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House that, in the name of democracy, takes play — and the rights of children — seriously indeed.

Listening pods, a fuzzy felt wall and a Kindness café are all part of the space, and during this summer the school holiday program will offer Open Air PlayUP, with activities in the Senate courtyard suitable for pre-school and primary children.

Or take a journey across the Australian desert at the National Museum of Australia’s Aboriginal-led exhibition, Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters, about the epic Seven Sisters Dreaming, or dodge sniper fire or peer through the periscope of a Cold War submarine at the Australian War Memorial’s Discovery Zone.


 Captain Cook Cruises … offering a range of Australia Day options on Sydney Harbour.

Captain Cook Cruises has released a range of Australia Day lunch and dinner cruises aboard flagship MV Sydney 2000, guaranteeing passengers the best seats on the harbour to see all the Australia Day action on January 26, throughout the day and night.

By day, see the harbour come alive with Australia Day celebrations from the Ferrython and Tug & Yacht Ballet to the Australia Day Parade and Tall Ships Race.

By night, see Australia Day’s new evening spectacular — Live at the Quay.

It’s a maritime musical-and-dance extravaganza in the middle of Circular Quay, with the water and skies coming alive with Harbour parades, a jet-ski show, an on-water opera performance and a series of dazzling firework displays.

MV Sydney 2000 will be positioned off the Sydney Opera House as part of the Live at the Quay event. The vessel will also join a select number of vessels in the evening’s Working Vessels Parade.

There are three lunch and dinner cruise options onboard the Sydney 2000.

The Sky Deck lunch, for instance, offers a four-course premium menu including house spirits, superior wines, beers and soft drinks, for $229 per adult and $169 per child (4-15yrs).

Phone 02 9206 1111 or visit

 Rebecca Currier at Milton Park … ‘The Devastating Diva’. Image: Nigel Unsworth.

Milton Park Country House Hotel and Spa — a five-star property near Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands — will on February 18 present Summer Soiree to launch year-long series of operatic dinner concerts.

Each of the five all-inclusive event will see a classical quartet play an excerpt from Vivaldi’s iconic masterpiece, The Four Seasons, before guests enjoy a classical music concert, interspersed with fine dining experiences crafted by Milton Park’s hatted chef, Craig Knudsen.

The series opener will be an outdoors event that will see guests trace a red carpet to Milton Park’s pool terrace where sparkling wine and canapes will be served, serenaded by the quartet playing Vivaldi’s Summer.

Guests then move to a natural amphitheatre on the Tulip Lawn, backdropped by the gracious Milton Park mansion, for part one of the opera concert, with a guest appearance by Rebecca Currier, ‘The Devastating Diva’.

Interval will see guests sit down to candle-and-flower-festooned grazing tables of seafood and summer delicacies, with matching wines, on the Cedar Lawn, before the second half of the concert starts.

Including the concert, dinner and beverages, the Summer Soiree is available for $280 per person.

Guests can also stay at the luxurious Milton Park Country House Hotel and Spa, with a discounted two-night stay available from $640 per room, including a hot breakfast each day.

Phone 02 4861 8100 or visit

Dave Freeman … will be telling the Neil Diamond story on the Murray Princess.

Entertainer Dave Freeman will return to the PS Murray Princess next August to perform his Neil Diamond Show during the paddlewheeler’s ‘Hot August Night’ cruise on the Murray River.

Also on board for the three-night adventure will be keyboard artist Paul Gill.

The Murray Princess will visit Murray Bridge and Mannum.

At Murray Bridge guests can explore the historic township and take a tour of the historic Round House.

In Mannum join the Captain for a walk along the riverbank to the Mannum Dock Museum.

Instead of exploring Murray Bridge, wildlife lovers can spend a morning visiting Monarto Zoo (additional cost) to see giraffe, eland, zebra, white rhinoceros, cheetah, lions, hyena and wild dogs.

Fares start at $897 per person twin-share.

A new Mannum-to-Adelaide-Airport coach transfer service is now operating post cruise for disembarking passengers.


 Outback Tasting Adventures … introducing visitors to an Australian food bowl.

A new experience in Queensland’s Tropical North is provided by Outback Tasting Adventures, which tales guests out of Port Douglas through farms on the Atherton Tablelands to sip local coffee, sample handcrafted chocolates and cheese, taste tropical wines and discover Indigenous flavours.

This unique food and wine experience drives visitors through a variety of contrasting landscapes, ranging from lush rainforest, crops and dairyland to stunning ochre savannah plains.
The rich volcanic soil allows farmers to grow many and diverse crops, from bananas, coffee, sugar cane, avocados, mangoes, macadamia nuts and citrus, all of which will be learnt about as the group tastes its way around the food bowl.

 Simply stunning … the outlook from near explora Patagonia.

From the world’s most southern tip to one of the driest places on earth is the route for a luxury cruise tour by Latitude 33 in 2018, with a special promotion of three nights complimentary at the Alvear Art Hotel and a tango show in Buenos Aires if you book before January 31.

The fully escorted 23-night journey begins in colourful Buenos Aires before flying to the southern tip of Ushuaia to board the new state-of-the-art ship Ventus Australis for a four-night Chilean Fjords cruise.

Transfer to explora Patagonia, located in the heart of Torres del Paine and on the shores of Lake Pehoé, offering a breath-taking view of the Paine Massif. With six nights, guests will have plenty of time to explore the stunning landscape by foot or horseback and view the peaks, glaciers, lakes and rich flora and fauna.

Next stop is the extreme opposite. Surrounded by desert dunes, spend five nights at the fully inclusive explora Atacama, situated near the village of San Pedro de Atacama, where you can discover the terrain, ancestral culture and unique wildlife through a range of explorations that vary in durations from a couple of hours to a full day. Activities include trekking, horseback riding, cycling explorations, high-mountain climbs and stargazing sessions.

Prices start at $19,145 per person twin-share ex Australia.

Phone 1300 636 848 or visit

 One&Only Royal Mirage … five-star luxury next to Dubai’s iconic Palm Island.

Spend $1699 for two adults to stay three nights in the five-star luxury of an Arabian Court Deluxe Room at the opulent One&Only Royal Mirage, located next to Dubai’s iconic Palm Island.

The offer is valued at $4541, and includes daily breakfasts, nightly dinners at a choice of restaurants, unlimited access to Aquaventure Waterpark and welcome drinks. In addition, one child stays and eats free.

It is valid for stays until January 31 2019, though bookings must be made by June 30 next year.

Phone 1300 889 900r visit

 Radiance of the Seas … a range of music experiences in the South Pacific.

Australians love to cruise and they love a wide range of music, and figures suggest they’re combining both in record numbers, with Cruise Express recording a doubling of bookings for music cruises in 2017.

Cruise Express has several options in 2018 for music cruises through the South Pacific aboard Radiance of the Seas.

Country music fans, for instance, can bootscoot their way on to a seven-night ‘Cruisin’ Country 8’ cruise from Sydney in October. Onboard will be artists such as John Williamson, Troy Cassar-Daley, Graeme Connors, Gina Jeffreys, Sara Storer, Tania Kernaghan, Anne Kirkpatrick and James Blundell. Fares are from $2645 per person twin-share.

And for rock-’n’-roll devotees, a there’s a seven-night ‘Rock the Boat 2018’ cruise, also ex Sydney in October. Legendary rock band Foreigner will headline the cruise, along with an illustrious line-up of Australian rock legends such as The Romantics, Russell Morris, Shannon Noll and The Eurogliders. Fares are from $2555 per person twin-share.

Phone 1300 766 537 or visit

Central America … a paradise for wildlife lovers.

Explore the wonders of Central America, the Caribbean, Portugal and Spain with a Transatlantic crossing aboard Norwegian Star on a 36-night fly-stay-cruise package with Cruise1st.

The package starts with a flight from Australia to Los Angeles in April next year, with three nights pre-cruise accommodation there to take in the highlights of Hollywood and Anaheim.

Then board Norwegian Star for a 28-night cruise taking in Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco in Mexico before arriving in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations.

Sample the beaches, volcanoes and rainforests of Costa Rica, then transit through the Panama Canal en route to George Town in the Cayman Islands before arriving in Miami, Florida.

Chill out in chic South Beach before crossing the Atlantic Ocean for Portugal and Spain, with highlights including Ponta Delgada, Lisbon, Seville, Granada and Barcelona.

Guests will disembark in Barcelona and stay for three nights before flying home to Australia.

The package is priced from $4999 per person twin-share ex Sydney and Melbourne ($5299 ex Brisbane and Canberra, $5399 ex Adelaide, $5499 ex Perth).

Phone 1300 596 345 or visit

 Patong Merlin Hotel … located opposite the main beach of Phuket.

Book through TravelOnline and pay from $415 per person twin-share for eight nights Thailand’s Patong Merlin Hotel.

The deal includes buffet breakfast daily, bonus buffet dinner per person, late checkout to 2pm, 25 per cent spa discount, free wi-fi, 10 per cent discount on resort food and beverages, return airport transfers by private vehicle and the choice of free massage or a five-hour Phuket tour for two.

Patong Merlin Hotel is located opposite the main beach of Phuket, is conveniently close to downtown Patong and within walking distance of restaurants, markets, attractions and nightlife.

The offer is valid for sale until December 31, and for travel from April 15 to October 31.

Phone 1300 883 887 or visit

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