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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

September 15, 2018 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Evergreen’s 2019/20 south-east Asia brochure showcaes new itineraries on its first Star-Ship on the Mekong River, the Emerald Harmony.

The company’s lead-in itinerary for the season is the 13-day ‘Majestic Mekong Discoverer’, taking in Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap from $4035 per person twin-share, including flights.

It’s inclusive of a seven-night cruise, two nights in Ho Chi Minh City, three nights in Siem Reap, return flights and airport transfers, 30 meals with complimentary wine and beer with lunch and dinner while cruising, and all tipping, gratuities, port charges and taxes.

In addition, Evergreen ‘You’re Invited’ cultural experiences include a performance from Phare Cambodian Circus, a tuk-tuk drive in Phnom Penh, a traditional Buddhist monk blessing, and a visit to a family-owned silk factory.

Phone 1300 383 747 or visit www.evergreentours.com.au.

 Japan … Ecruising guests will experience a very different world to their own.

Departing Australia in March next year, Ecruising’s new itinerary combines a 14-night cruise from Hong Kong to Yokohama on board Holland America’s Westerdam with a seven-night land tour Japan, right in time to experience the country’s spectacular cherry-blossom season.

The price of from $8599 per person twin-share also includes a night pre-cruise at the Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel.

The cruise includes Shanghai, Qingdao, Tianjin, Nagasaki and Kagoshima, while in Tokyo the land tour includes Mt Fuji and the Kubota Itchiku Art Museum, home to the renowned Kimono Collection by legendary Kimono designer, Itchiku Kubota.

There are also four nights in Kyoto, with highlights including the Kinkakuji Zen temple, the Ryoanji Temple with its famous dry-landscape garden spanning 25 metres, and Nijo Castle.

Phone 1300 369 848 or visit www.ecruising.travel.

Both Victory I and II are designed especially for coastal cruising.

Australian cruise lovers seeking new horizons can save more than $2800 per couple on a nine-night journey with boutique American cruise company, Victory Cruise Lines, through the Great Lakes and along the border between French Canada and the United States.

The earlybird discount is valid until September 30, with prices from about $8185 per person twin-share.

Included are complimentary free-flowing wine, beer and spirits, a free cocktail hour before dinner, indulgent high teas on sailing days, complimentary shore excursions, free wi-fi, and a program of lectures by historians and naturalists specialising in the regions visited.

Like its twin sister, Victory I, the intimate and recently launched 202-passenger Victory II is designed especially for coastal cruising, with all staterooms offering water views.

The cruise follows the St Lawrence River and sails across Lakes Erie and Ontario to take in the French-flavoured Canadian cities of Montreal and Quebec City. Overnight stays are included in both cities.

Other highlights include a visit to Toronto and seeing the spectacular Niagara Falls, with passengers treated to a complimentary boat cruise to their misty base.

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

 Hong Kong Harbour … endpoint for a cruise aboard Windstar’s all-suite Star Legend.

Windstar has a fly-cruise-and-stay offer departing Australia early next year and featuring a 14-night cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong via the Philippines and Borneo aboard the all-suite Star Legend, which carries a maximum of 212 guests.

Book by September 30 and pay from $5589 per person twin-share, a saving of up to $2643 per person, including economy flights to Singapore from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth with Singapore Airlines, and return air from Hong Kong.

Also included are a night each in Singapore and Hong Kong, private transfers, all meals on the cruise and use of watersports platform, subject to weather conditions, when at anchor.

Highlights include an overnight stop in Manila, venturing among the islands in an outrigger and swimming in the crystal
 waters of Hundred Islands National Park, snorkelling among WWII Japanese wrecks off 
Busuanga Island, and visiting orangutans at the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre.

Phone 1300 749 875 or visit www.windstarcruises.com.

 Metro Mirage Hotel Newport … fabulous views of Sydney’s Pittwater.

Book in advance and save at Metro Mirage Hotel Newport, in Sydney’s northern beach suburbs, about a 45-minure drive from the CBD.

Book 30 days or more in advance and save $10 per night, $15 per night if you book 45 days or more in advance.

The property features views of Sydney’s Pittwater and is close to a multitude of activities — surfing on beautiful beaches, bushwalking, tennis, golf, catered cruises, deep-sea fishing and sailing.

There’s complimentary wi-fi and, as a website exclusive, one-hour late check out at 11am.

Visit www.metrohotels.com.au.

 The Orange Wine Festival … a great chance to try cool-climate wines.

Plan a mid-week grape escape or wine weekend away in the picturesque Orange region of the NSW Central West from October 12-21, and take advantage of the culinary events on offer during the 13th annual Orange Wine Festival, which showcases the best new-release cool-climate wines and spring produce from the city and its surrounding villages.

Highlights including ‘Wine in the Vines’, a winery-to-winery tour led by local vignerons on October 20.

Go behind the scenes of cellar doors and enjoy a roving lunch with matching wines, transfers and a bottle of local wine to takeaway, for $149 per person.

Orange Wine Festival Night Market includes 50 food-and-wine stalls dotted around leafy Robertson Park on October 19.

Meet local winemakers and chefs, dine at communal tables and enjoy live music under the stars, all for a gold-coin donation.

Or sample and wines from the Orange Wine Show, choosing from more than 200 types all in the one room, matched with local produce on October 12 for $60 per person.

Enhance your tasting experience and wine knowledge by including a masterclass hosted by Rikard Wines winemaker Will Rikard-Bell for $75 per person.

Visit www.orangewinefestival.com.au.

 Happy campers … a group of trekkers following the historic Rabbit Board Fence.

Keep those boots laced. Southern Queensland has a three-day guided mountain trail dubbed by one happy hiker as “a time traveller’s journey through ancient forests in the footsteps of pioneers and graziers”.

Starting near Killarney, near Warwick in south-east Queensland, the hike follows the historic Rabbit Board Fence for 35 kilometres to the foothills of Wilsons Peak and includes a night camping on Farmer Mal’s property and one night in Spring Creek Mountain Cottages.

The next walk departs Saturday 29 September, with prices from $1050 per person twin-share including all meals and snacks. Small groups are guaranteed.

Phone 07 5463 4114 or visit www.horizonguides.com.au.

Brantes Castle … visited as part of ‘Art & Gardens of France’.

Join Botanica’s guest host Brian Healey — a gifted artist, teacher and linguist, with a passion for gardening, travel and European history — on a botanically themed journey from Cannes to Bordeaux.

Over 14 days, marvel at poetic landscapes and historic villages that inspired many of the world’s great artists. Explore stunning spring gardens in the south of France and Provence, then wind along the verdant waterways of the Bordeaux region during a luxury river cruise while enjoying expert commentary, insight and classes hosted by Brian.

‘Art & Gardens of France’ departs next May, with prices from $13,595 per person twin-share or $16,995 for solo travellers. Fly business class from $5495 per person.

Phone 1300 305 202 or visit www.botanica.travel.

 Cosmopolitan Quito … a rich history as the northern capital of the Inca Empire.

Save $2000 per couple on a new deluxe Contours Travel package featuring some of the best that Ecuador has to offer.

The 11-day ‘Ecuador Natural Selection: Cloud Forest to Galapagos’ itinerary is available for independent travellers from now until the end of next year, with the savings available for bookings made by this December 31.

The package begins in Ecuador’s cosmopolitan capital, Quito, where guests can visit art galleries, museums, monasteries and mansions, learn of its rich history as the northern capital of the Inca Empire and stand with a foot in each hemisphere at the Middle of the World memorial.

Guests will then journey north-east to the mystical Ecuadorian Choco cloud forest, where the adventure includes an open-air cable ride over and through the forest canopy.

Two nights will be spent here at Mashpi Lodge, a stylish hideaway boasting breathtaking views of surrounding forested mountains through its floor-to-ceiling panoramic glass windows.

The package will finish with a luxurious, seven-day cruise of the Galapagos Islands onboard the 90-passenger Santa Cruz II, with highlights including snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, spotting many species of wildlife and a visit to a breeding centre for the endangered giant Galapagos tortoises.

Land-content prices start at $9733 per person twin-share.

Phone 1300 135 391 or visit www.contourstravel.com.au.

Beijing’s Temple of Heaven … as snapped by renowned Australian photographer Ken Duncan.

Helen Wong’s Tours is offering discounts of $200 per person on two of its popular group tours through China in 2018-19, and discounts of $150 per person on two group tours in its Vietnam program.

The China discounts apply to the 12-day ‘China Gems’, now priced from $3700 per person twin-share, and the 14-day ‘Yangtze Wonders’, now priced from $4430 per person twin-share, for departures this year and next.

The Vietnam specials are for the 11-day ‘Glimpse of Vietnam’ and 11-day ‘Culinary Delights’ itineraries, with prices now starting at $3050 and $3040 per person twin-share respectively.

Tour groups no larger than 20 are guaranteed with all departures.

Bookings must be made before October 31.

Phone 1300 788328 or visit www.helenwongstours.com.

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