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TRAVELLERS’ GOOD BUYS Compiled by JOHN ROZENTALS

October 6, 2014 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

junkSail the dolphin-filled waters of Port Stephens aboard Shaolin, an authentic three-masted, 23-passenger Chinese junk, thought to be the only one operating in Australia.

The craft has quite a history. It’s circumnavigated the world twice, been through two cyclones, served as a listening post for the CIA off the coast of China, and even been boarded by pirates.

Guests will get the chance to stand at the helm of the traditional Chinese junk and experience an underwater viewing of marine species and sponge gardens, using the junk’s glass-bottom tender.

Two-hour cruises cost $40 per adult, $20 per child aged 3-12. Saturday and Sunday lunch cruises can include yum cha for $15 per person extra.

Phone 0418 487 586 or visit www.shaolincharters.com.au.

PIC: bench.jpg — Life in the wilds of southern Africa … right up Bench International’s alley.

Book by October 31 and get a 10 per cent discount on selected Bench International safari itineraries next year to southern Africa.

Pay, for instance, from $4720 per person twin-share for an all-inclusive 22-day tour from Cape Town through Namibia, the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls.

Phone 1300AFRICA or visit www.benchinternational.com.

dolphins

This month signals the start of the dolphin season at Bunbury’s Koombana Bay, about a two-and-a-half-hour drive south of Perth.

It’s one of the few places where visitors can mingle with wild bottlenose dolphins, with swim tours operating daily until April.

Mantra Bunbury Hotel, overlooking Koombana Bay, offers studio accommodation for $180 per night, including use of an indoor lagoon pool and spa, tennis courts and day spa.

Phone 131 517 or visit www.mantra.com.au.

florida

A voyage half way around the world from Florida to Australia, including the Pacific’s most idyllic islands, is being offered next April by Cruise Express.

The 44-night package includes a flight from Australia to Fort Lauderdale, a night at the Hilton Marina Fort Lauderdale and a 43-night cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Sydney aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Legend of the Seas.

The voyage will include some of the most popular destinations of the Pacific, including five ports on four of Hawaii’s islands – the Big Island, Maui, Oahu and Kauai – as well as three destinations in Tahiti – Moorea, Bora Bora and Papeete. Suva and the idyllic Isle of Pines also feature on the tropical-themed itinerary.

Prices start at  $7099 per person twin-share.

Phone 1300 764 509 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au.

foxhill

Small Luxury Hotels of the World has launched its Private Residences collection — consisting of villas, ski chalets, estates and yachts, all with 10 rooms or less and offering five-star services and facilities.

Typical is Foxhill Manor, set within the 400-acre Farncombe Estate in England’s Cotswolds.

As well as eight bedrooms and suites, it also has its own ballroom suitable for up to 80 guests.

Visit privateresidences.slh.com.

peppers

Peppers Guest House in the Hunter Valley — the first of the luxury group’s properties — is celebrating its 30th birthday on October 26 by offering its original rates for a special ‘Sunday Sojourn’.

Guests will pay $100 per room, including breakfast and an invitation to join a summer barbecue on the verandah.

Phone 02 4993 8999 or visit www.peppers.com.au/guesthouse.

rivers

Worldwide Cruise Centres has built a 29-day French-countryside holiday around three CroiseiEurope river cruises — a four-night Gironde Estuary and Garonne River cruise aboard Princess d’Aquitaine, a seven-night Seine Valley and Normandy Beaches cruise aboard Seine Princess, and a five-night Scenery of the Provençal Rhone Lyon River cruise aboard Camargue.

Its ‘Vive la France 2015!’ costs from $8999 per person twin-share ex Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth.

Visit www.worldwidecruisecentres.com.au.

tas

Taking your own car on a Tasmanian holiday means not having to worry about excess baggage such as golf clubs and fishing gear, nor about getting back home with those few cases of premium wine.

Book by October 18 for travel between November 1 and December 18 and pay just $83 per head each way for a recliner seat on Spirit of Tasmania, plus another $83 each way for a standard-size vehicle.

Upgrade to a cabin for an extra $66 per person each way.

Visit www.spiritoftasmania.com.au.

aurora

Your partner flies free on Aurora Expeditions’ 15-day Kimberley Coast packages.

Pay from $9195 for the first person ex any Australian capital city, from $8495 for the second person, including an 11-day voyage between Broome and Darwin aboard 44-passenger Coral Princess, and two nights accommodation in each of Broome and Darwin.

Includes daily shore landings via a specially designed landing craft, the Explorer, which delivers passengers directly from the ship’s deck to shore.

Book by October 31 for departures June-July next year.

Phone 1800 637 688 or visit www.auroraexpeditions.com.au.

citadines

Get opening specials at Citadines Kuta Beach Bali.

Pay from US$72 per night for a studio apartment, including continental breakfast, early check-in and late check-out.

Features central location and views of the beach.

Valid until November 30.

Visitwww.citadines.com.

divina

Second passenger pays only port charges on select seven-night Caribbean cruises on board MSC Divina.

Pay from $729 ex Miami for the first passenger, $149 for the second.

Ports of call are St Maarten, Puerto Rico’s San Juan, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico’s Cozumel and Great Stirrup Kay in the Bahamas.

Only a 96-hour sale from October 14, for departures from late November to mid March.

Phone 1300 028502 or visit www.msccruises.com.au.

eden

Save nearly $2000 on a seven-night package at Eden Health Retreat in Queensland’s Curumbin Valley.

Pay from $1749 per person twin-share instead of $3650.

Includes daily chef-prepared meals, daily wellness classes, massage treatment and use of the pool and gym.

Book by October 18 for travel until December.

Phone 1300 889 900 or visit www.LuxuryEscapes.com.

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