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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

April 7, 2018 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Captain Cook Cruises’ flagships, MV Sydney 2000 and MV John Cadman II, will celebrate the tenth Vivid Sydney as official participants in the festival’s ‘Harbour Lights’ display, providing passengers with an excellent opportunity to watch the city come alive in a spectacular array of lights and projections from May 25 to June 16.

MV John Cadman will carry the ‘#ilovesydney’ lighting installation and MV Sydney 2000 the official Vivid Sydney installation, with both vessels sailing through a spectrum of light as they cruise the harbour precincts.

Captain Cook Cruises has a number of options for sale during the period.

Perhaps the ultimate way to experience Vivid is a ‘Gold Penfolds Dinner and Drinks’ cruise, which includes a five-course degustation menu with a selection of the company’s renowned vintage wines to accompany each course and an open bar of house spirits, beer and soft drinks and live music.

The occasion is priced at $239 per person and departs nightly at 7.30pm from Barangaroo.

Phone 02 9206 1111 or visit

 The Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival … definitely a pagan celebration. Image: Kate Berry.

The Huon Valley Mid-Winter Festival will be held over the weekend of July 13-15 to celebrate the region’s apple-picking past with a program of musical performances, cider and feasting at Willie Smith’  Ss Apple Shed.

At the heart of the festival is the age-old pagan tradition of wassailing — scaring the bad spirits away from the orchard amid lots of clanging, singing, shouting, costumes and fun.


 Perth’s Melbourne Hotel … refurbished but has retained its style of 1890s.

Following a major refurbishment, the heritage-listed Melbourne Hotel in Perth’s CBD has been transformed into a seven-storey, 4.5-star hotel with 73 new or refurbished rooms.

The original grandeur of the hotel’s 1897 design has been retained, with the addition of a new modern architectural build.

The hotel includes a gym, function space, boardroom, conservatory, rooftop lounge and bar, and the ‘Old Melbourne’ pub, now called De Baun & Co.

The hotel also offers new food venues including the Grand Orient — a modern Cantonese-inspired restaurant — and two firsts for Australia, the famous Keisuke ramen noodle bar and Hattendo, serving Japanese cream buns that mix sweet and savoury.

 Kirsten Tibballs … one of the stars in the Olsson’s Salts Yurt at Noosa.

If you are a foodie (or wine lover) and have a thirst for knowledge, then the Olsson’s Salts Yurt is the place to be in the Noosa Festival Village on May 19-20.

They will present a range of masterclasses from some of Australia’s best chefs, producers and winemakers.

These are a ticketed item and are only accessible with Festival Village tickets.

An example is the Padre Coffee Masterclass on Saturday May 19 from 10.30am ($20).

This masterclass will feature two very rare Colombian coffees that have been naturally processed to bring out floral and fruit flavours. Participants will work through a series of exercises to explore these flavours in the coffee.


 Oaks Metropole Hotel in Townsville … stay a Saturday night for $1.

Oaks Hotels & Resorts is inviting travellers to holiday at one of its Townsville property, Oaks Metropole Hotel, for $1 per night.

Guests who book for a minimum of two nights over a weekend until May 31 will receive their Saturday night stay for $1.

The property is a centrally located Townsville hotel featuring contemporary studios and apartments, sweeping balcony views and outstanding leisure facilities, including a swimming pool and gymnasium.

Townsville is a gateway to Great Barrier Reef destinations such as Magnetic Island.

Walk the Hawkings Track, snorkel and dive the SS Yongala ship wreck, or simply unwind and take in the fresh sea breezes at one of its 23 beaches.


 Hokkaidu’s Ainu … were principally a society of hunter-gatherers

Visit Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido to meet the Ainu people.

Prior to Japanese trading and settlement, as far back as 1600, Ainu were the main inhabitants of this vast island.

Primarily the Ainu were a society of hunter-gatherers, who lived mainly by hunting of bear and fishing.

Today’s visitors can learn about Ainu dance, art and music from descendants who are trying to keep their culture alive.

Toursgallery has escorted tours of Hokkaido that include visits to an Ainu village where guests can enter their houses and speak with the villagers.

A 16-day tour exploring all Hokkaido commences on October 13 and coincides with the peak of autumn-coloured foliage.

Limited to 15 participants, this event is priced from $9850 per person twin-share, with accommodation in both traditional Japanese-style ryokans and western hotels.

Phone 1300 307 317 or visit

 MV Carpe Diem … base for eights nights on Matt Grigg’s retreat in the Maldives.

Matt Griggs, ex-pro-surfer turned holistic coach, has joined forces with Taylor Knox, USA pro-surfer, to offer a mind-body-and-surf retreat in the Maldives this September.

The eight-night retreat will be held on the 10-cabin MV Carpe Diem yacht, includes daily surf coaching by Taylor Knox and life-coaching one-on-ones with Matt.

Over the course of the trip attendees will be taught the skills needed to ride the waves of the Maldives.

The package costs from $6750 per person and includes all meals and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), daily surf coaching by celebrity surf mentor Taylor Knox, personal performance sessions hosted by Matt Griggs, and video and surf shots of the trip.


 Jordan … take a guided visit to a prehistoric kingdom in the Middle East.

Butterfield & Robinson has revealed its line-up of 2019 expedition trips, including active luxury departures in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

B&R travellers will explore natural enclosures home to African wildlife and the largest land migrations on the planet, float above captivating coastlines and along glacier formations by helicopter in New Zealand, and join guided visits to a prehistoric kingdom in the Middle East.

A seven-night ‘Jordan Walking’ itinerary, for instance, will explore the rich history of this tiny kingdom in the heart of the Middle East, from famous sites like Petra to the intricate Byzantine mosaics in Madaba, before floating in the Dead Sea and hiking through a canyon adorned with ponds and rivers.

A local guide leads travellers through the Sharah Mountains, while other highlights include a former mausoleum turned temple, and prehistoric cave carvings with ancient maps dotted on walls.

Prices start from about $9770 per person twin-share.



  Take a Bali beach break … $329 for five nights.

Book though TravelOnline and save more than 20 per cent on a beach break at Pelangi Bali Hotel & Spa.

Pay from $329 per person twin-share, including five nights accommodation, American buffet breakfast daily, free wi-fi, use of fitness facilities, scheduled shuttle service, 15-minute massage, and return airport transfers by private car.

Guests can also choose one of the following free bonus extras — an 80-minute spa treatment for two, Finns Bali day pass for two, Splash Waterpark day pass for two, water sports voucher for two or a whitewater rafting adventure for two.

You’ll have to be quick though. The package is only valid for sale until April 15, though it is valid for various travel periods up to March 31 next year.

Pelangi Bali Hotel & Spa is located on Seminyak Beach, just a short drive from downtown Kuta.

Phone 1300 883 887 or visit


Silversea Muse … free unlimited wi-fi access to every guest.

Starting with voyages sailing this month, Silversea will offer free unlimited wi-fi access to every guest throughout its fleet of classic and expedition ships.

Guests staying in a Silver suite or upwards will enjoy free unlimited premium internet access for up to two devices simultaneously per guest. Unlimited premium internet access is also available to purchase for guests wishing to upgrade.

Silversea’s array of shipboard amenities also includes a selection of complimentary wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks, in-suite bar stocked with guests’ preferences, in-suite dining service, plus lecture and enrichment programs.

Phone 02 9255 0600 or visit

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