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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

January 27, 2018 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

A month-long series of partner events will culminate in Victoria’s Grampians region’s 27th annual Grampians Grape Escape on May 5-6.

This year, the Grampians Grape Escape will be teaming up with chef and host of the popular TV series River Cottage Australia, Paul West, and the face of Channel 10’s The Cooks Pantry, Matt Sinclair, for masterclasses and cooking demonstrations using the finest local seasonal produce.

The festival will star some of Australia’s most distinguished winemakers from the Grampians, Pyrenees and Henty regions.

Meet the winemakers and learn from the producers who experimented with techniques and pushed boundaries, to bring award-winning wines and newly discovered products for festival goers to enjoy.

The annual Grampians Winemakers Reserve Shiraz Barrique will be returning to give bidders the chance to take home a rare ‘taste of the Grampians’ once the weekend is over.

Visit www.grampiansgrapeescape.com.au.

 Exploring classic Central Australian scenery on the Larapinta Trail.

Experienced outdoor educator and adventurer Edwina Parsons will lead The Katrina Dawson Foundation’s Larapinta Trail Challenge in Central Australia’s West MacDonnell Ranges on May 8-12.

The foundation was established to preserve the memory of Katrina Dawson, who lost her life during Sydney’s Lindt Cafe siege.

Participants who sign up for the five-day challenge have two challenges ahead of them: to raise a minimum $1000 for The Katrina Dawson Foundation and to complete the Larapinta Trail Challenge.

The trip costs $1835 per person ex Alice Springs, plus a $200 non-refundable registration fee.

Highlights include staying in exclusive semi-permanent campsites with comfortable safari-style sleeping tents, hot showers and delicious meals, and spending three days walking along the most spectacular sections of the Larapinta Trail.

Phone 1300 720 000 or register through www.humacharitychallenge.com.

 Crossing fields of gold on the way to Griffith … Cruise Express’s heritage train.

Cruise Express will run a second ‘Rail Adventure to the Riverina’ over the October long weekend this year.

Showcasing the NSW Riverina’s fine wines and abundant produce, the hosted four-day tour includes travel from Sydney’s Central Station on a privately chartered heritage train, complete with buffet, dining and compartment cars from the 1930s and 40s.

Hauled by the 62-year-old 4204 Streamliner locomotive, the train will stop for lunch at the historic 139-year-old Junee Railway Station.

Highlights in Griffith will include a visit to Randall Organic Rice Farm, Southern Cotton Gin, a private wine-paired dinner at McWilliams Winery, morning tea at the rose-filled sanctuary of Careri’s Garden, followed by a special Italian style lunch at Piccolo Farm, where guests will tour the farm’s orange groves before a cooking demonstration and meal featuring paired wines and fresh local ingredients, and a private dining experience at Zecca Handmade Italian.

Including eight meals and daily sightseeing, the package is priced from $1990 per person twin-share.

Phone Cruise Express on 1300 766 537 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au.

Tigerair Australia … new competition will promote Australian music.

Tigerair Australia has launched ‘Tigertunes’, a competition aimed at aspiring unsigned musicians who want to get their original music heard by up to 600,000 people per month on board Tigerair flights.

To get involved, artists must submit their personal bio, photo and social media handles, an audio recording of the song they would like featured and the song lyrics to Tigerair by July 1.

Successful artists will have their music played on board selected Tigerair Australia flights for a period of up to two months, with tracks also promoted on Tigerair Australia’s dedicated ‘Tigertunes’ webpage (www.tigerair.com.au/fly/tigertunes).

One artist will be chosen to play at the 2018 Airlie Beach Festival of Music, with flights and accommodation for the event to be provided by Tigerair Australia.

Plenty of adventure action … hitting the jetskis with Cruise Whitsundays.

Cruise Whitsundays has launched a new Whitehaven Beach and jetski-snorkelling adventure as part of its collection of action offerings.

The new tour takes in the wonders of the Whitsundays with a morning cruise to Whitehaven Beach and an all-inclusive afternoon of guided jetski action and reef snorkelling.

Prices start at $229 per person.

Cruise Whitsundays has also enhanced a range of existing tours for the 2018 season including, ‘Seabobs on Hardy Reef’, which is now available as an optional extra on the popular ‘Great Barrier Reef Adventure Day’. The seabob is a fun and easy-to-operate motorised jet that allows you to cruise on the surface or explore the stunning coral underwater.

www.cruisewhitsundays.com.

 Aranui 5 … plenty of romantic touches on this mixed passenger-cargo vessel.

Forget red roses, chocolates and candlelit dinners. For the ultimate Valentine’s treat Aranui Cruises is offering a 13-day voyage around the islands of Tahiti, departing Papeete on February 14, 2019.

The round-trip cruise includes calls at nine French Polynesian islands across Tahiti’s three striking and distinct northern archipelagoes.

Included is a call at Bora Bora, often described as the world’s most romantic destination, and offering an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the likes of artist Paul Gauguin and author Robert Louis Stevenson.

During its 13-day voyage, Aranui 5 will dispense cargo at 15 scheduled ports of call while guests disembark and explore a range of complimentary excursions including hikes, 4WD tours, local feasts and visits to archaeological sites.

A 10 per cent earlybird discount is currently available across all cabin categories on the special Valentine’s Day departure, with discounted ocean-view staterooms starting from $5750 per person twin-share.

Phone 03 9449 3778 or visit www.aranuicruises.com.au.

 Cruising the Brahmaputra River in Assam … one of India’s least visited destinations.

A new cruise tour package that combines India’s most popular attraction, the Taj Mahal, with one of the country’s most beautiful but least visited destinations, the remote State of Assam, has been released in Australia by Cruise Traveller in partnership with Indian river cruise company, Adventure Resorts and Cruises.

The 12-night package, to be run in December, links a five-night tour of Rajasthan and Agra with a seven-night cruise on the sacred Brahmaputra River in Assam.

Including international return flights with Singapore Airlines from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth, plus Indian domestic flights, the land-and-river-cruise package is priced from $6985 per person twin-share.

Cruise Traveller and ARC are also offering a 25 per cent discount on cruise-only fares on selected departures in September and October, saving couples up to $2864 if booked 90 days before departure.

Cruise-only fares are available from $2948 per person twin-share.

Phone 1800 507 777 or visit www.cruisetraveller.com.au.

The Arctic … new site has made it much more accessible to the independent traveller.

A team of Arctic travel experts have launchED a new website to make independent travel to the region easier, quicker and cheaper.

The site (www.booklapland.com) has also partnered with Visit Tromso, making it one of the biggest Arctic-activity booking engines available.

Having long been a destination of mystery and adventure, the Arctic has in the past been a destination largely reserved for the specialist adventurer or the wealthy.

Now it is much more open for independent travellers, with over 130 individual activity products available through the site.

Visit Egypt with an A&K insider … Hatshepsut’s Temple near the Valley of the Kings.

Abercrombie & Kent’s Regional Managing Director Australia/Asia Pacific, Sujata Raman, who lived, studied and worked in Egypt for many years, will personally escort guests in September on a journey that follows in the footsteps of pharaohs, emperors and conquerors from Cairo to Luxor, Aswan and the Mediterranean coast at Alexandria.

The package includes a stand-out cruise along the Nile on A&K’s own Sanctuary Sun Boat IV as well as in-depth exploration of the country’s myriad archaeological treasures and ancient monuments with a leading Egyptologist bringing both ancient and modern Egypt to life.

Highlights include the soaring Pyramids of Giza and the hidden Valley of the Kings, the vibrant maze of alleyways in Cairo’s largest market and the tiny islands around Aswan. There are rarely seen temples, Alexandria’s Greco-Roman attractions as well as the WWII battlefields of El Alamein.

Prices are from $9995 per person twin-share.

Phone 1300 590 317 or visit www.abercrombiekent.com.au.

 Impiana Private Villas Seminyak … bonus extras.

Relax in Seminyak and save more than 33 per cent with TravelOnline.

Pay from $775 per person twin-share and receive five nights accommodation at Impiana Private Villas Seminyak, breakfast daily, welcome drink, free wi-fi, return airport transfers, reflexology session for two, one-course lunch, one-day access to Finns Club and various spa, food and beverage discounts.

Additionally, guests can choose one of the following free bonus extras — an 80-minute day-spa session for two, whitewater rafting adventure for two, watersports voucher for two, Finns Bali Day Pass for two, or Splash Water Park Day pass for two.

The package is valid for sale until March 31 and for travel April 30.

Phone 1300 883 887 or visit www.travelonline.com.

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