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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

September 29, 2018 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

APT has released its 2019 ‘Outback Wilderness Adventures’ program and is offering a range of deals for early-bird bookings.

Its 11-day ‘Cooktown & Cape York’, for instance, showcases some of the best of Outback Queensland’s remote landscapes in groups of no more than 20 guests.

Take to the skies for a scenic helicopter flight over the most northerly point of Australia’s mainland, Cape York; travel the rugged Bloomfield and Old Telegraph tracks; and explore the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, normally off-limits to the general public.

Prices start at $7995 per person twin-share, which includes a saving of $600 per person.

Book before December 15 to take advantage of a range of offers, including a savings of up to $1200 per couple on some itineraries and departures.

Phone 1300 196 420 or visit www.aptouring.com.au.

 On show at the DESIGN Canberra Festival … The Museum of Possibilities.

Canberra has been a leader in design ever since Walter Burley Griffin won the architectural competition to design Australia’s new capital. Hence it’s only appropriate that the city should host a major design festival.

From November 5-25, the DESIGN Canberra Festival will provide a program of more than 100 events and continue to celebrate Canberra as a global city of design.

Highlights include: one of the most significant Japanese figures in contemporary architecture, Kengo Kuma; Australia’s leading practitioner of the late-20th-century organic style of architecture, Enrico Taglietti; the 2018 designer-in-residence, furniture maker Chelsea Lemon; Design Diplomacy events in collaboration with Helsinki Design Week; Dark MOFO favourite known for his lighting designs, Matt Adey of House of Vnholy; a type artist’s conference; hands-on workshops and a presentation by Tim Ross.

Visit www.designcanberrafestival.com.au.

MV Sydney 2000 … celebrating Australian fish and wine.

‘Aqua Tonic’, the second of Captain Cook Cruises ‘Gold Lunch’ specials this spring, will be held in Sydney Harbour on board its flagship MV Sydney 2000 on Sunday October 28.

The cruise is priced at $239 and includes a six-course lunch based on Huon Aquaculture’s salmon and ocean-run trout, matched by Tyrrell’s wines and, of course, the spectacle of one of the world’s great harbours.

The lunch will celebrate Australian fish and wine and depart noon from Sydney’s King St Wharf No.1, returning at 3.30pm.

An early-bird special of $159 per person is available to first bookers.

Phone (02) 9206 1111 or visit www.captaincook.com.au.

 The jabiru … a local favourite. Image: Paul Arnold.

Nature lovers are flocking to Kakadu Bird Week until October 7 for what is regarded as one of the “greatest natural shows on earth”.

With the dry season at its peak and the wetlands receding in advance of the arrival of the monsoon rains, Kakadu’s remarkably rich variety of birdlife is at its most visible and active.

The region is home to over one third of Australia’s bird species, and whether it is graceful sea eagles ‘fishing’ on Yellow Water Billabong, the remarkable ‘Jesus Bird’ seemingly walking on water, or local favourites such as the jabiru and the tiny, vividly beautiful kingfisher, Kakadu is Australia’s most spectacular location for lovers of exotic birds.

Yellow Water Cruises and Kakadu Tourism are offering visitors exceptional opportunities to get close to the bird life during the special week. Massive flocks of noisy magpie geese cover the landscape, while crocodiles and other animals do battle for territory ahead of the rains.

Yellow Water Cruises is offering a series of cruises hosted by renowned naturalist, Luke ‘hawk eyes’ Paterson, from NT Bird Specialists. The sunset cruises take place on selected days from October 1-6.

There is a wide range of free events during the week at Bowali Visitors Centre, in the Mercure Kakadu Crocodile Hotel and on site.

The Mercure is offering a room-only rate of $199 and a breakfast rate of $20 per person.

Phone (08) 8979 9000 or visit www.accorhotels.com.

Air Adventure Australia … each tour has a maximum of nine guests.

Air Adventure Australia has just released details of 2019 air safaris, featuring 16 itineraries ranging from one to 14 days.

New tours include a Tasmanian golf-wine-and-art tour and a King Island day tour.

The company’s private aircraft, the Outback Jet, can quickly cover vast distances, and each departure is timed to coincide with the best time to be in a particular region, with the ‘Wet Season Spectacular’, for example, departing at the tail end of the wet-season when the King George and Kakadu Falls rage, and the Top End’s the red earth is replaced with lush green grass, swollen floodplains and remarkable wildlife.

The Outback Jet features large viewing windows to allow guests to take in the extraordinary landscapes, with other benefits being the ability to visit locations inaccessible by land.

Accommodation ranges from five-star luxury to comfortable remote lodges, the air safaris are all-inclusive, each tour has a maximum of nine guests, and a professional tour leader travels with the group for the entire journey.

At every destination, local guides share their experiences and knowledge, ranging from Aboriginal Elders to fourth-generation farmers, renowned archaeologists and conservation specialists.

Phone 1800 033 160 or visit www.airadventure.com.au.

 Come face-to-face with a giant panda on Ecruising’s eight-day land tour of China.

In March next year, Ecruising will combine an escorted eight-night land tour from Beijing to Shanghai with a 14-night cruise on Celebrity’s Millenium from Shanghai to Tokyo in its ‘Terracotta Warriors, Giant Pandas and Oriental Treasures’ itinerary.

The land tour will include stopovers in Xi’an and Chengdu, for a visit to the celebrated Terracotta Warriors and face-to-face encounters with giant pandas.

Also included in the land tour are a stroll through the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, one of China’s holiest Buddhist sites, along with a mandarin lesson and a calligraphy session at the famed Tang Dynasty Museum.

The cruise schedule includes Seoul, Jeju Island and Beijing, before heading eastwards towards Japan.

After a last stop in Kobe and a visit to Mt Fuji, the journey concludes in Tokyo, where guests will spend a night before flying home.

Prices start at $6519 per person twin-share.

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

 Croatian charm … the Adriatic town of Mošćenička.

Travellers can wander through Croatia’s beautiful woods, hilltop villages, islands and vineyards on two self-guided, inn-to-inn walking holidays offered by On Foot Holidays.

The Mediterranean nation is an increasingly popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and rich cultural heritage, particularly along its Adriatic coastline and islands.

The six-night Istria trek takes walkers through the far north-west of the nation, with its little hilltop towns and vineyards and spectacular mountain views, while the seven-night Dubrovnik hike offers Australians the chance to explore the walled city as well as some of the small, car-free islands which line the Adriatic coastline.

Highlights of the Istria route include a stay in a traditional hunter’s lodge, opportunities to enjoy freshly caught seafood, spectacular views of the Adriatic and its islands and a visit to Hum, which — with a population of 21 — is officially listed as the smallest town in the world.

While journeying through unspoilt countryside, guests will pass monuments, hidden valleys, hilltop towns and the ever-present Mount Učka, before descending to the pretty fishing village of Mošćenička, where the tour concludes.

Prices start at about $1120 per person twin-share for that walk, while the seven-night Dubrovnik walk is available from about $1408 per person twin-share.

Visit www.onfootholidays.co.uk.

On the National Geographic Expeditions schedule … the Everest Base Camp in Nepal.

National Geographic Expeditions has chosen World Expeditions as Australian operating partner for its new Active Expedition range.

The new series of insightful adventures has been crafted to take travellers to some of the world’s most incredible places, celebrating the uniqueness of each destination through meaningful experiences.

In Nepal, for instance, there’s an exploration of the stunning Annapurna region or a trek to Everest Base Camp featuring a helicopter flight back to Kathmandu.

In Peru, travellers can trek a lesser known alternative to the classic Inca Trail to the mystical Machu Picchu, and in India they can take a journey to the Kingdom of Ladakh and enjoy an opportunity to trek a rarely visited part of the Himalayas.

As well there are adventures in Iceland and in rarely visited South-West China plus a ‘Hilltribes and Ancient Cultures of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia’ itinerary.

Visit www.worldexpeditions.com.

 Hong Kong … preparing for its tenth Wine & Dine Festival.

Hong Kong is renowned for its cuisine and will be hosting its 10th Wine & Dine Festival from October 25-28, with more than 450 booths serving up a range of international wines and cuisines and reaching from the Central Harbourfront Event Space to Tamar Park on Hong Kong Island.

Five international chefs will join forces with two renowned Hong Kong chefs to present the Ten Michelin Starred Dinner at the Tasting Room to host an eight-course wine-pairing banquet with a menu will be a fusion of Chinese, Thai and French elements.

Two new food zones, International Street Eats and Coffee Fiesta, will make their debut, featuring delicacies such as jiu-wu beef noodle from Taiwan, while for the sweet tooth, renowned coffee-and-pastry shops will make up the Coffee Fiesta zone.

General admission starts from about $5.

Visit www.discoverhongkong.com.

Striking … Air Tahiti Nui’s first Dreamliner. Image courtesy of Boeing.

Air Tahiti Nui is about to take delivery of its first Dreamliner, pictured at the Boeing paint workshop in North Carolina and christened Fakarava after a picturesque atoll in French Polynesia’s Tuamotu Islands.

It has been registered with the letters MUA, meaning ‘moving forward’ in Tahitian.

With a design and colours inspired by the beauty and richness of the Polynesian islands, the livery features Air Tahiti Nui’s trademark tiare flower, a tattoo pattern representing a story of Tahiti and its people, and the blue hues that the islands are synonymous with.

The new aircraft will commence service on the Auckland-to-Papeete route on November 8.

When the airline has received all four Dreamliners by September, their registration codes will join together to say ‘the warrior going forward in the great canoe ’.

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