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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

June 2, 2018 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Cruise Express is picking up the needle and thread, and weaving its way along the Australian coastline, crafting a new cruise for crochet lovers from Sydney to Queensland this October.

French for ‘hooked needle’ and dating back to the 1820s, crochet is enjoying a revival as a simple activity that calms the nerves, expresses creativity, produces beautiful designs and forges friendships, with the number of avid crocheters growing across Australia and around the world.

Designed for both novice and skilled crocheters, Cruise Express’s second crochet cruise, on board Celebrity Solstice, will sail a10-night round-trip from Sydney with four ports of call — Newcastle, Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, Cairns and Brisbane.

Led by two of Australia’s top crochet teachers — Lynda Tomkins from Crochet Australia and popular ‘Loopy Stitch’ instagrammer, Emily Littlefair — the cruise will offer onboard workshops where guests will make one of six designs they can take home at the end of the cruise.

The package includes a welcome kit valued at $250 and containing everything needed to get started, including yarn, hooks, needles, cutters and patterns.

Those booking before June 30 will receive $200 worth of mixed-hue yarn.

Fares are available from $2890 per person twin-share.

Phone 1300 766 537 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au.

 Bring a friend for half-price on a two ‘Reefsleep’ experience with Cruise Whitsundays.

Book a double-swag under the stars with Cruise Whitsundays before June 30, for travel until November 30 and bring along a friend at 50 per cent off the everyday price, a saving of $262.50.

Start the two-day ‘Reefsleep’ experience with a cruise to the spectacular Hardy Reef for a full day of diving, snorkelling and other marine activities.

As evening approaches, it’s time to settle on board the pontoon for an intimate sundowner dinner and an opportunity to watch from the underwater viewing platform as the reef comes alive.

Overnight accommodation is in a double-swag for two, especially designed for ‘Reefsleepers’ to take in the starlit skies.

Phone 07 4846 7000 or visit www.cruisewhitsundays.com.

 The Retreat Port Stephens … nestled in bushland next to a 32-kilometre-long stretch of Australia’s largest sand dunes.

Escape to The Retreat Port Stephens and save 20 per cent on a winter-escape package, nestled in bushland next to a 32-kilometre-long stretch of Australia’s largest sand dunes.

Until September 27, the two-night package is priced from $245 per couple and includes cabin accommodation, a $30 voucher to use at Crest Birubi Beach — a cafe boasting spectacular vistas over the ocean and a chance to watch passing whales — and two glasses of wine and a shared cheese platter at Nelson Bay Golf Club.

Additional guests can stay for an extra $35 per person per night, but the offer is not available during the June long weekend.

The Retreat Port Stephens offers self-contained cabins and bungalows accommodating up to six people, with ‘The Ranch’ fitting 10. The private 1.6-hectare property boasts camp fires with free wood, barbecue areas, a pool, games room, DVD library and a playground area.

Phone 02 4982 1244 or visit www.theretreatportstephens.com.au.

 Pretty Valley Lodge … a quintessential Falls Creeks ski lodge.

Family-friendly Pretty Valley Lodge at Falls Creek Alpine Resort is offering all-inclusive tariffs, with guests receiving complimentary snow equipment, including snow jackets, pants and helmet whilst they are staying at this well located property.

A two-night weekend stay (in Friday, out Sunday) costs $500 per adult and $375 per child under 14 (sharing a 4-6 person room).

But the real value of the all-inclusive Pretty Valley Lodge tariffs is in a swag of free extras — free hire of snow equipment, plus breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily are included.

Another attribute the lodge guests really appreciate is its children’s early-dinner followed by supervised entertainment programs.

Phone 03 5758 3210 or visit www.prettyvalley.com.

 Chimu Adventures will join the likes of these penguins later this year on a great Antarctic journey. Image: Chad Carey.

Following the adventure of the company’s 2017 voyage, which saw travellers sail more than 4000 nautical miles, identify eight species of penguins, spot 13 mammal breeds, and cross the Antarctic Circle six times, polar specialists Chimu Adventures invites those who want the ultimate Antarctica experience to get involved this year, joining a limited number of guests on a voyage to Commonwealth Bay in East Antarctica.

‘In the Wake of Mawson’ will set sail from Hobart in December aboard the Akademik Shokalskiyand, returning 28 days later to Invercargill, on a cruise that has capacity for less than 50 passengers.

Commonwealth Bay is situated approximately 2700 kilometres south of Hobart and involves 11 days of sailing on the Southern Ocean through the Roaring Forties.

Less than 300 tourists have made the journey to Commonwealth Bay in the past six years and more people have reached the summit of Everest than have stepped inside Mawson’s Huts.

Phone 1300 773 231 or visit www.chimuadventures.com.

A China highlight … the Great Wall, as seen on the less crowded Mutianyu section.

Book by June 30 and save up to $2000 per couple or $1800 as a solo traveller on Abercrombie & Kent’s 12-day ‘Highlights of China’ journey.

A feature inclusion is a four-day trip through the intriguing Three Gorges of the Yangzi River aboard the newly refurbished Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer.

New to the cruise itinerary is a choice of excursion to either the 816 Underground Project, China’s top-secret nuclear plant hidden deep in the mountains of Fuling, or the White Crane Ridge Underwater Museum, an archaeological site that has been submerged due to the building of the Three Gorges Dam.

Perennial attractions such as the Great Wall — seen from the less crowded Mutianyu section — and the Terracotta Warriors are also included, as well as the highlights of Beijing and Shanghai.

City accommodation is in the Peninsula hotels in Beijing and Shanghai and Xian’s Sofitel Legend People’s Grand.

Prices start from $9455 per person twin-share.

Visit www.abercrombiekent.com.au.

 The Colorado Springs Crafts and Drafts Passport … digital deals at 24 local breweries, distilleries and coffee houses.

Now on tap, the Colorado Springs Crafts and Drafts Passport comes with delicious drink deals throughout the state’s Pikes Peak region.

Visitors can savour their way through the area using digital deals at 24 local breweries, distilleries and coffee houses.

Patrons who collect at least five redemption codes from the locations will earn a free 2018 Crafts and Drafts T-shirt.

The T-shirt offer — and the chance of a Colorado Springs getaway — will run through the end of August, while all deals can be redeemed through the end of the year.

Visit www.thepassportprogram.com.

 No sign of volcanic activity here … on Hawaii Forest & Trail’s signature ‘Kohala Waterfalls Adventure’. Image: John Rozentals.

Just a reminder that Hawaii’s Big Island — from which the whole island group takes it name — is indeed a big place and that disruption due to the current activity emanating from Kilauea Volcano is limited to the reasonably remote Puna region on the east coast.

Companies such as Hawaii Forest & Trail continue to support relief efforts, but also point out that attractions such as the famous Kona Kohala Coast and Maunakea’s soaring summit, as well as tropical rainforests and stunning waterfalls, remain quite safely accessible.

Hawaii Forest & Trail’s signature ‘Kohala Waterfalls Adventure’, for instance, includes stunning private waterfalls, tranquil streams and the rugged valleys on a North Kohala adventure using a six-wheel-drive Pinzgauer vehicle.

Also, a visit to Maunakea, the tallest (and quite extinct) volcano on the planet, fulfills a major bucket-list must-do on any Hawaii Island itinerary. The company’s exclusive Maunakea Sunrise Experience and the Maunakea Summit & Stars Adventure are open and available for bookings.

Visit www.hawaii-forest.com.

 The Kinugawa area … an adventurer’s haven.

Only two hours from the hectic bustle of Tokyo, the Kinugawa area is one surrounded by rich natural scenery — and from early June it becomes an adventurer’s haven, where individuals and groups can enjoy rafting, canyoning and other water activities.

One of the area’s most well known attractions is river rafting, in which guests glide along and enjoy the scenic valley.

From July 21 to August 31, there will also be the chance to participate in canyoning — diving into waterfall pools and gliding down rocky slides which allow adventurers to truly experience the great outdoors and to view waterside nature at a leisurely pace.

Nature Adventure Outdoor Club, the first rafting operator in Tochigi prefecture, provides a safe and family-friendly water activity experiences, including a three-hour family tour.

Visit www.nikko-travel.jp.

SALA Phuket Resort & Spa … save 20 per cent on a five-night escape.

There are good reasons why Phuket is one of Asia’s most popular holiday destinations — it is renowned for its spectacular beaches, glorious tropical weather and a rich culture interwoven with modern life.

Book through TravelOnline before June 15, for travel until October 31, and save 20 per cent on a five-night escape to SALA Phuket Resort & Spa, situated on the stunning Mai Khao Beach overlooking the Andaman Sea.

Pay from $655 per person twin-share, including accommodation in a deluxe balcony room, breakfast daily, free wi-fi, return airport transfers by private vehicle and bonus four-hour Phuket tour for two.

Resort features include three beachfront swimming pools, with a children’s pool, a selection of restaurants and bars with stunning views, gym, day spa, guest lounge and SALA shop.

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

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