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TRAVELLERS’ GOOD BUYS Compiled by JOHN ROZENTALS

April 10, 2014 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

croisiCruise Abroad has combined three of CroisiEurope’s French countryside river cruises into a 28-day ‘Viva La France’ itinerary departing Australia on October 7.

Prices start at $8699 per person twin-share, including return Emirates flights from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth, a six-night Gironde Estuary and Dordogne River cruise, a four-night Paris to the Normandy Coast cruise along the Seine River, a four-night Provencal Rhone cruise, accommodation in Paris, Lyon, Bordeaux and Nice, and four first-class rail trips.

Phone 1300 669 369 or visit www.cruiseabroad.com.au.  ironfest

What would you wear if you lived on Mars? That will be one of the themes at the 15th annual Ironfest, which will be held in Lithgow from April 25-27.

Ironfest will bring together artists, designer-makers, blacksmiths, performers, musicians, historical re-enactors, machine enthusiasts and hobbyists, with numerous elaborately costumed cosplayers (costumed players) descending on Lithgow Showground to act out scenes from their favourite movies, TV shows and comics.

There will be jousting on horseback, a Napoleonic-era large-scale Battle of Lithgow, an expanded medieval village featuring non-stop sword combat as well as a full-flight birds-of-prey display.

pentecostVisit www.ironfest.net.

Want to see the foolhardy souls whose activities inspired the bungee-jumping craze?

Then visit Vanuatu’s Pentecost Island, where the annual Naghol Land Diving Festival runs until the end of June, with locals tying vines to their ankles and leaping from a 30-metre-high purpose-built wooden tower with the aim of gently grazing their shoulders on the ground.

Adventure World has a four-night package priced from $1889 per person twin-share ex Sydney, including flights with Air Vanuatu, accommodation at Iririki Island Resort, full buffet breakfast daily and a land-diving daytrip with return flights to Pentecost Island.

Visit www.adventureworld.com. queens

Ecruising.travel is helping Cunard celebrate its 175th anniversary by providing the opportunity to sail all three of the line’s Queens on the one nautical adventure of a lifetime.

The itinerary includes a seven-night cruise ex Southhampton to France and Ireland on Queen Victoria, a 16-night cruise to Sweden, Estonia, Russia, Germany and Scotland  on Queen Elizabeth (including the rare meeting of all three ships in Liverpool) and a seven-night trans-Atlantic cruise on Queen Mary 2.

Prices start at $10,999 per person twin-share, including return airfares from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, six nights hotel accommodation, and a New York helicopter sightseeing tour.

queenstownBook by April 30 to get bonus onboard credits. The tour departs Australia on May 1.

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

A new Queenstown-based mountain-guiding company is offering bespoke trips in New Zealand’s backcountry.

Queenstown Mountain Holidays is run by Mike Madden, who has more than seven years experience as a professional mountain guide, and offers guided ascents of some of the country’s highest mountains — Mt Cook, Mt Aspiring and Mt Tasman — as well as helicopter-accessed skiing and hiking adventures in the Southern Alps.

Visit www.queenstownmountainholidays.com.  SONY DSC

The arts and nature will come together in the Blue Mountains from April 24 to May 18 when Scenic World hosts its annual sculpture exhibition in the primeval rainforest below its iconic rides.

Highlights include free guided tours and artists’ talks, while local accommodation facilities have joined the celebrations by providing special packages associated with the exhibition.

Sculpture at Scenic World is a free event on purchasing the Scenic World’s Ultimate Discovery Pass, costing $35 for adults, $18 for children (3-14 years), $88 for a family of five, and $32 concession. The pass includes sigatokaunlimited rides on the Scenic Railway, Skyway, Cableway and Walkway.

Visit www.scenicworld.com.au/sculpture.

Sigatoka River Safari has partnered with Heli Tours Fiji to offer two combination deals to adventure travellers.

The Heli-Jet Boat Combo ($365) includes a 15-minute helicopter flight over the Sigatoka River Valley to the Sigatoka River Safari base, while and the Heli-Jet Scenic Flight and Jet Boat Safari Combo ($535) includes a 30-minute scenic flight over the beautiful Coral Coast.

Both combos include a Sigatoka River Safari aboard custom-built jet boats that take passengers to visit authentic Fijian villages and share in a traditional lunch and kava ceremony.

Phone 0800 6501 721 or visit www.sigatokariver.com or www.helitoursfiji.comtopdeck

The popularity of exotic Morocco with young travellers has encouraged Topdeck to offer more tours and departures to the country for the 2014-15 season.

The 10-day Moroccan Explorer is priced from $915 per person twin-share (plus US$185 local payment) ex Marrakech, including a guided tour of the city’s famous Djemaa el-Fna Square, the Roman ruins of Volubilis, a full day tour of Fes taking in its maze-like medina, a night in the Sahara in Berber tents and the impressive Todra and Dades Gorges in the Atlas Mountains.

Each trip also features authentic local food experiences such as a traditional tajine while visiting Dades Gorge.

Phone 1300 886 332 or visit www.topdeck.travel clifftop

Save up to 60 per cent at cliff-top Semara Luxury Villa Resort Uluwatu, one of Bali’s most exclusive and luxurious properties.

Pay from US$475 per room per night (two-night minimum stay), plus taxes and service charge.

Free and preferred access to Finns Beach Club nestled on one the best beaches in Bali; personal butlers, chefs and drivers.

Until June 7.

Visit www.semararesorts.comschoolies

Save 20 per cent on schoolies packages at Fiji’s Sonaisali Island Resort.

Pay from $1750 per person triple-share, including return flights, full buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner, organised activities and all transfers.

Resort is totally chartered to schoolies.

Book by April 30 for stays from November 24 to December 1 and December 1 to 8.

seahavenPhone 1800 981 320 or visit www.unleashedschoolies.com.au.

Save $950 on a seven-night family stay at Seahaven Noosa.

Pay from $2125 for a one-or-two-bedroom beachfront apartment at the 4.5-star resort.

Features direct access to grassed courtyards, four heated pools and spa, beachfront barbecue area and child-minding services.

Stay April 28 to June 1.

Phone 07 5447 3422 or visit www.seahavennoosa.com.au.

Save between $8800 and $11,900 as a solo traveller on Beyond Travel’s luxurious 13-day rail tour along the Silk Road.silk

Pay from $19,760, including nine nights on the Golden Eagle with private ensuite, two nights five-star accommodation in Moscow, one night accommodation in Almaty, full board with drinks on the train, sightseeing with English-speaking tour director.

Visits include Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Merv, Ashgabat, Khiva, Kara Kum desert and Volgograd.

October 28 departure from Almaty in Kazakstan.

Phone 1300 363 554 or visit www.beyondtravel.com.au.

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