Cruise Express is taking bookings for the inaugural voyage to Australia late next year by the 5000-passenger Ovation of the Seas, still under construction in Germany, and slated as the biggest — and certainly most technologically advanced — cruise ship to ever visit Australia.
Fares for the inaugural voyage, from Singapore, start at $979 to Perth (six nights), $1879 to Adelaide (11 nights), $2239 to Hobart (13 nights), $2339 to Melbourne (13 nights including flight from Hobart to Melbourne as Ovation will not call at Melbourne), and $2599 to Sydney (15 nights) for arrival on December 15, 2016.
During its maiden season here, 18-deck Ovation of the Seas will offer three, round-trip cruises from Sydney to New Zealand and a voyage back to Singapore on January 23, 2017.
Phone 1300 764 509 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au.
The Broken Heel Festival … celebrating the 21st birthday of Priscilla Queen of The Desert.
Broken Hill will really let its hair down from September 11-13 for the inaugural Broken Heel Festival, which will celebrate the 21st birthday of Priscilla Queen of The Desert, the movie that put a cock in a frock on a rock.
Centre for much of the action will be where the Queens themselves bunked, Broken Hill’s famous Palace Hotel.
Think the Let’s Go Shopping Girls community market, the Drag on Drag (play dress-ups up the main drag) and the Bloody Mary MooMoo Morning, for even the tenderest of heads the morning after.
International Rail now also offers Mediterranean ferry tickets.
Melbourne-based International Rail has added to its product range by introducing point-to-point ferry tickets for crossings in Greece and the broader Mediterranean.
The popular crossing from Santorini to Ios, for instance, is available from $58 per person when purchased in Australia.
Ferries can be booked up to four months in advance and can include a confirmed seat or deck space on day services and a variety of accommodation options on overnight services.
Phone 1300 387 245 or visit www.internationalrail.com.au.
New Maldives resort Amilla Fushi … over-water luxury.
Singapore Airlines Holidays is offering up to 40 per cent off seven-night packages to the new Maldives resort Amilla Fushi.
Prices start at $5995 instead of $10,590 per person twin-share for travel before July 31, and at $7995 instead of $15,290 from August 1 to October 31, including return flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin.
The packages include breakfast and dinner daily, a 50-minute spa treatment per person per day, return airport transfers by domestic flight and speedboat, all resort childcare, and all non-motorised and motorised watersports.
Phone 1300 728 998 or visit www.siaholidays.com.au/amilla.
Making Sydney a temporary home … Holland America Line’s Noordam.
Holland America Line’s Noordam will make its maiden voyage to its new home port of Sydney on October 25 to undertake a series of 12-to-29 day Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific itineraries between then and April next year.
The ship’s entertainment includes the BB King’s Blues Club — an eight-piece live show experience that takes place every night in the Queen’s Lounge.
A 12-day round-trip Pacific Treasures voyage, for instance, will depart Sydney on December 5, priced from $1399 per person and bound for ports in New Caledonia and Fiji.
Phone 1300 987 322 or visit hollandamerica.com.au.
Sebel Pinnacle Valley Resort … offers a very European feel.
The freshly renovated Sebel Pinnacle Valley Resort, in the Victorian High Country near Mt Buller ski resort, is offering opening two-night ski-and-stay packages priced from $370 per person twin-share.
The deal includes breakfasts, one-day resort entry to Mt Buller (with bus transfer) and one-day ski-equipment hire.
Mt Buller has over 300 hectares of skiable terrain, with runs ranging from the wide beginners’ slopes to the challenge of black runs such Chamois and the back of Summit.
The offer is valid till September 30, subject to sufficient snow.
Phone (03) 5777 5788 or visit thesebelpinnaclevalleyresort.com.au.
Peppers Ruffles Lodge & Spa … set in the heart of the Gold Coast Hinterland.
Enjoy those misty mountain moments this winter and escape to the picturesque Gold Coast Hinterland at Peppers Ruffles Lodge & Spa.
Pay from $409 per night for a minimum of three nights in a Chums Spa Villa, including breakfast daily and nightly turndown service with chocolate and port.
The deal is valid for sale and travel until September 30.
Phone 07 5546 7411 or visit www.peppers.com.au/ruffles-lodge.
Vikos … hiking along one of the world’s deepest gorges.
UK operator On Foot Holidays is offering hiking packages to the Vikos Gorge — one of the world’s deepest, plunging more than 500 metres and stretching for 17 kilometres in the Pindos Mountains of northern Greece.
Prices start at about $1359 per person twin-share, including seven nights of B&B accommodation (two of them on the island of Corfu), two dinners, three picnics, some taxi transfers and all luggage transfers between hotels.
An optional two-night extension to Meteora, with its grand cliff-top monasteries, would take the total price to about $1590.
Hotel Floride Etoile … save 28 per cent on your stay.
Save 28 per cent on a stay in Paris’s Hotel Floride Etoile.
Pay from $217 per night.
City-heart location, just a stroll from the Champs Elysees, the Esplanade of the Trocadero and the Eiffel Tower. Free wifi.
Book by August 22 for stays until October 8.
Phone 1800 687 236 or visit Hotels.com.
The view from Oahu’s Hilton Hawaiian Village.
Save up to $860 per couple through TravelManagers Australia on an eight-night Hawaiian deal that combines the islands of Oahu and Maui.
Pay from $1965 per person twin-share (land-content only) for five nights in an ocean-view room at Oahu’s Hilton Hawaiian Village and three nights in an ocean-view room at Maui’s Grand Wailea.
Includes resort fees and two Golden Circle tickets to the Hilton Hawaiian Starlight Luau.
Book by July 13 for travel October 20 to December 12.
A Kimberley highlight … the mysterious Bungle Bungle Range.
APT is celebrating the launch of its 2016 program of Kimberley and Cape York wilderness adventures with a $1000 per couple saving on one of its most popular itineraries.
Pay from $8495 per person twin-share for the 15-day Kimberley Complete package, including 38 meals, all sightseeing, park and excursion fees, travel in a custom-built 4WD, and additional guides on selected walks.
Included are APT ‘Signature Invitations’ such as a helicopter ride over Mitchell Falls, a tour of Home Valley Station and exploring the Bungle Bungle Range.
Valid until allocation sold out.
Phone 1300 196 420 or visit kimberleywilderness.com.au.
Mercure Hunter Valley Gardens … cosy base for a winter festival.
Get a midweek special to the Mercure Hunter Valley Gardens for the properties annual snow festival.
Pay from $279 per night, including accommodation for two adults and two children in a studio room, breakfast, and family pass to Snow Time at the Hunter Valley Gardens.
Festival includes a 14-by-35-metre skating rink, 25-metre ice toboggan and an interactive man-made Snow Play Zone.
Festival runs to July 12.
Phone (02) 4998 2000 or visit www.mercurehuntervalley.com.au.