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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

April 14, 2018 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

If your idea of a holiday involves golfing, ballooning, pampering, wine tasting and fine dining, then Oaks Cypress Lakes Resort in the Hunter Valley may be the answer.

Guests can book a two-bedroom villa at the property, which is nestled in the heart of picturesque wine country, from $262 per night, with savings of up to 25 per cent when booking for a minimum of two nights.

A bonus early check-in and late check-out, and free wi-fi are also included in the deal, as is the opportunity to take to the skies aboard Oaks’ own hot-air balloon.

Visit www.oakshotels.com and use promo code MYOAKS.

A Taste of Kakadu … the region’s best Indigenous chefs will showcase their culinary creations.

One of Australia’s premier Indigenous food festivals, A Taste of Kakadu, will be staged from May 18-27, serving up a menu of ancient cuisine with a modern twist.

This year’s festival will see the region’s best Indigenous chefs showcasing their culinary creations at remarkable locations, all celebrating the traditional culture and breathtaking scenery of Kakadu National Park.

Over 10 days, visitors can embark on guided foraging walks where ‘super’ foods and delicacies such as Kakadu plums can be enjoyed, dine on crocodile, fish and buffalo cooked in spectacular ground ovens, and glide along the famed barramundi-filled rivers while enjoying bush tucker-inspired canapes.

Festival highlights include a sumptuous four-course dinner created by TV personality and hatted Indigenous chef Clayton Donovan at The Escarpment Restaurant in the legendary Crocodile Hotel in Jabiru, and an exclusive pop-up dining experience in the heart of Kakadu.

Visit www.kakadutourism.com.

 Explore the pristine Kimberley in style with A&K.

Explore the pristine Kimberley coastline aboard the all-new, all-luxury Le Laperouse, which has been exclusively chartered and configured by Abercrombie & Kent for use by 150 guests, including a first-of-its-kind underwater lounge.

A&K’s expedition team, which includes naturalists, conservationists and photographers, will be with guests throughout the voyage to bring to life some of Australia’s and the world’s most spectacular landscapes and seascapes.

Highlights of the 12-night journey between Broome and Darwin include Horizontal Falls, Montgomery Reef, the cave art at Raft Point, frequent Zodiac excursions, sea turtles and saltwater crocodiles, a helicopter flight to Mitchell Falls, and a fixed-wing flight-seeing experience over the Bungle Bungles.

The itinerary starts on June 20 and is priced from $18,295.

Phone 1300 851 800 or visit www.abercrombiekent.com.au.

 Leura Harvest Festival … will offer a true regional harvest theme.

Satisfy sweet-tooth cravings at this year’s Leura Harvest Festival on Sunday May 6 with Australia’s biggest free chocolate-cake-eating frenzy.

The Great Australian Chocolate Cake Competition is the signature event at the festival, which celebrates seasonal local food and sustainable living within 100-mile radius of the Blue Mountains’ boutique village.

Now in its fifth year, the Leura Harvest Festival, sponsored by The Escarpment Group, will have more than 70 stalls of organic produce and products, micro-farming information, solar-powered vehicles, herbs and spices, apple ciders and local wines, repurposed clothing, art, homewares, and organic beauty products.

In true regional harvest theme, the festival’s program has traditional fair events, including the Birches of Leura Scarecrow Competition with dozens of creations using sustainable material, and the Pet Chook Show bringing proud owners and their friendly fowls to Leura for the honour of best chook in show.

The region’s best chefs will gather for Plate Up’s food event, the Chef’s Kitchen, where visitors can enjoy signature restaurant dishes. The Escarpment Group will host an Asian-inspired BBQ with free samples of food from the Hydro Majestic Hotel.

Visit www.leuravillage.com.au.

 Whale sharks at Ningaloo … gentle giants of the ocean.

The gentle giants of the ocean — the majestic whale sharks — have already been sighted at Ningaloo Reef on Western Australia’s mid-north coast, heralding the start of the season when they visit the area to feed on plankton and krill.

Whale-shark swim tours have begun operating, and will continue through to late June in Coral Bay and late July in Exmouth, allowing visitors the opportunity to have a face-to-fin encounter with the friendly giants, which are generally between six and 11 metres in length.

Ningaloo Marine Park’s nutrient-rich waters are considered one of the best places to swim with whale sharks due to reliability of numbers and ability to interact with them.

At 300 kilometres long, World-Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef is the world’s largest fringing reef. Visitors can walk straight off the beach and snorkel in the underwater wonderland teeming with brilliant coloured coral, manta rays, sea turtles and more than 500 species of tropical fish.

Visit www.australiascoralcoast.com.

 

 Celebrate all things PJ Travers at Mayborough’s annual Mary Poppins Festival.

A special treat awaits visitors to the annual Mary Poppins Festival, which this year will be held in historic Maryborough from June 29 to July 8, with the doors to a new Story Bank at the birthplace of author PL Travers to be thrown open for the first time.

Festival goers will be able to discover the art of storytelling through displays, activities and exhibitions in the heritage-listed building.

The building’s link to the author, who was born in the city in 1899, is already highlighted by pedestrian lights featuring fun silhouettes of the world’s most famous fictional nanny, along with a bronze statue of the beloved character and metal cut-outs of the iconic carpet bag and brolly for people to pose with.

The historic Portside precinct will transform into scenes of Cherry Tree Lane during the festival’s major celebration, ‘A Day in the Park’, on July 7.

Festival goers can also watch or join in the grand parade, chimney sweep challenge and nanny race.

Visit www.marypoppinsfestival.com.au.

Mont Blanc … do it the easy way with UTracks.

UTracks is offering a 10 per cent discount its seven-day ‘Mont Blanc Rambler’ guided walk from Italy to France on a journey that is described as perfect for those looking for an easier option for ‘doing Mont Blanc’.

The itinerary traverses high passes, crosses meadows brimming with alpine flowers and passes through typical mountain villages, allowing plenty of time to stop and take in the stunning Mont Blanc vistas, enjoy a picnic and absorb the alpine culture.

Book before April 30 and pay from $1215 per person.

This includes accommodation in comfortable gîte-hostels or refuges, all meals for six days, an experienced guide and mules to carry your gear.

Visit www.utracks.com.

 Japan’s famous Shinkansen Bullet Train … looks more like a rocket.

Toursgallery’s guests visiting Japan will get an insight into the future of transport, technology and architecture.

Watch a demonstration drive of an electric car with no steering wheel, and travel by the Yurikamome driverless high-tech monorail across Tokyo Bay.

“Even the famous Shinkansen Bullet Train today looks more like a rocket than a train,” said Ken Osetroff, director of Toursgallery.

Architectural wonders can be seen in the upside down pyramids of Big Site Convention Centre, the silver ball of the Fuji TV building and historic Asahi Beer Hall.

Escorted small group tours created by Toursgallery are priced from $9850 land-content only, and feature relaxed-pace itineraries and a mixture of modern and traditional Japanese accommodation.

Other highlights include Geisha, autumn foliage, gardens, cherry blossoms, bird watching, volcanoes and Japanese onsen baths.

Phone 1300 307 317 or visit www.toursgallery.com.

 Oceania’s Marina and Riviera feature culinary centres equipped with individual induction-cooktop work stations.

Oceania Cruises, a cruise line with a distinct culinary bent, has added 16 new cooking classes for the 2018 European season aboard Marina and Riviera.

The ships feature culinary centres equipped with individual induction-cooktop work stations and the new programs were developed by longtime Director of Culinary Enrichment, Chef Kathryn Kelly.

Highlights include mastering chef-knife skills, rethinking the crêpe, and secrets of the 
Nordic kitchen
, where participants take a culinary voyage around the Baltic.

Phone 1300 355 200 or visit www.oceaniacruises.com.

La Belle Epoque … cruises France’s Burgundy Canal.

European Waterways is offering up to 20 per cent off charter and cabin prices for hotel barge cruises across its European network, with some cruises also including a complimentary Paris hotel stay and private chauffeured transfers to and from the vessel.

Among eligible vessels is the 12-passenger La Belle Epoque, which cruises France’s Burgundy Canal. It offers 20 per cent off whole-boat charter prices for some departures and 10 per cent off per cabin on others.

Bookings must be made by May 14.

Visit www.europeanwaterways.com.

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