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Travellers Good Buys Week Beginning 1 Jan 2018 Compiled By John Rozentals

January 2, 2018 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Ecruising.travel has released a range of Azamara Club cruise itineraries offering 50 per cent off the cruise portion of packages for a second guest on selected journeys booked by February 28.

The offer applies to an 18-night cruise holiday aboard Azamara Quest, from Tokyo to Seward in Alaska.

Save up to $2400 on the second passenger with packages now costing from $7909 for the first passenger and from $5589 for the second passenger.

Return airfares from Australia, four nights pre- and post-cruise hotel accommodation, and transfers are included.

The cruise includes visits to the ports of Sapporo and Kushiro in Japan. Visit the city of Petropavlovsk, the Russian cultural centre of Kamchatka Krai before crossing the International Dateline into Alaska to experience Dutch Harbour, Kodiak and Homer.

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

 A very special experience … cracking a geode at Crystal Caves.

Give your child — or the child inside every adult — a very special experience by taking them to visit Crystal Caves in Atherton, Far North Queensland, and letting them break open a geode to reveal the mineral mystery inside.

Cracking a geode is a highlight of a caves visit, with the specially built geode cracker being ratcheted up and breaking the round rock in two, exposing the beautiful crystal sparkling inside.

The lucky person who does the work is the first person ever to see the inside of the 44-million-year-old geode.

The geodes are mined in Chihuahua, Mexico, where they are formed by volcanic activity and are usually banded from finely grained microcrystalline quartz.

Phone 07 4091 2365 or visit www.crystalcaves.com.au.

 Kangaroo Island’s Vivonne Bay … was once voted as Australia’s best beach.

South Australia’s Kangaroo Island is these days so well known for its premium food and top-flight accommodation that it’s easy to forget what put it on so many Australians’ must-visit lists — a superb natural environment, including some of the nation’s top beaches.

Take Vivonne Bay, for instance. Located smack bang in the middle of the island’s south coast, this six-kilometre-long U-shaped bay is postcard-perfect and was once voted as Australia’s best beach.

Here, white sandy shores meet gently lapping waves, perfect for wading waist-deep. With a jetty framing the south-end and distant dunes in the north, it’s a great excuse to slip away for the day without another soul in sight.

Another little gem of a spot is Stokes Bay, on Kangaroo Island’s northern shore.

After pulling up in the carpark, you’ll weave through a little labyrinth of caves before emerging on to some of the whitest sand and clearest water in Australia.

If you’re lucky, you might even get the entire beach to yourself!

Visit www.southaustralia.com.

A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity … interacting with whales in the temperate Ningaloo waters. Image: Jacob Hill.

Humpback whale-interaction tours have been given the green light to continue for the 2018 season at Western Australia’s Ningaloo region, and the tours will return to Exmouth and Coral Bay from August to November.

The tours offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with the whales as they swim by or rest in the temperate Ningaloo waters, and complement the region’s other nature-based offerings, such as whale-shark swims and manta-ray interactions.

Visit www.visitningaloo.com.au.

The Ord Valley … home to the Ord Valley Muster in north-west Western Australia. Image: Ben Broady.

Early-bird tickets are on sale until February 12 for the Ord Valley Muster, which will be held at Kununurra, in north-west Western Australia, from May 11-20.

Event-goers can save almost 20 per cent with the new Muster Double that includes general admission to the hallmark event, the Aviair HeliSpirit Kimberley Moon Experience, and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow that will be held in the official Muster Festival Hub at the Jim Hughes Amphitheatre.

The black-tie Kimberley Fine Diamonds Dinner at the Kimberley Moon Experience is the Kimberley’s most prestigious and lavish event of the year and includes riverboat transfers, exclusive dance floor and champagne, canapés and a full sit-down multi-course dinner under the stars.

Country music rock royalty Lee Kernaghan OAM will headline the Aviair HeliSpirit Kimberley Moon Experience, with The Cat Empire.

Travel packages with flights from Perth start from $1210 per person, including accommodation, transfers, event tickets and tour options. Self-drive packages from Broome start from $524 per person, including accommodation, transfers and event tickets.

Visit www.ordvalleymuster.com.au.

The Retreat Port Stephens … next to Australia’s biggest sand dunes.

Sand dunes, serenity and the sea — plus normally a healthy dose of sunshine — make the Retreat Port Stephens an ideal destination for late-summer and autumn escapes, especially with guests able to save 20 per cent on stays between January 15 and April 30.

Nestled near unspoiled beaches, natural bushland and Australia’s biggest sand dunes, the Retreat Port Stephens provides a peaceful bush hideaway for guests to stay and enjoy beautiful Port Stephens.

The private, 1.6-hectare property offers self-contained cabins and bungalows accommodating up to six people and boasts a range of free activities, including a swimming pool, playground, barbecues, games room and bushwalks.

During the designated period, it is offering the discounted rate of $650 on a five-night stay in a cabin for, based on two guests but in accommodation can sleep up to five.

A five-night stay in a bungalow is available for $950, based on four guests in accommodation can sleep up to six.

Kids under 12 stay at no extra cost, with additional guests over 12 paying $100 per person extra for the five nights.

Phone 02 4982 1244 or visit www.theretreatportstephens.com.au.

 Japan’s peak blossom time is also peak tourism time.

Every year in late March and early April, Japan’s cherry trees erupt in a fabulous froth of pale pink and for a fleeting fortnight or so, the entire country becomes gripped with cherry blossom fever.

This is Japan’s peak tourism time, with locals and visitors alike descending on the cherry-blossom hot spots, so it is little wonder that hotels are heavily surcharged and often booked out years in advance.

Botanica World Discoveries has countered this problem by chartering a boutique ship, the MS Caledonian Sky, to cruise the islands of Japan during the cherry blossom season, and there is still limited availability on two 2018 departures.

Botanica, a specialist in garden-themed travel, will provide plenty of chances to see the cherry blossom in different stages of flower.

Gardening expert Simon Rickard will be on hand to lead a host of garden-themed shore excursions.

Guests will visit some of Japan’s best gardens, as well as iconic sights, whilst enjoying all the benefits of a relaxing cruise holiday, only unpacking once, and with all meals and drinks included.

Phone 1300 305 202 or visit http://www.botanica.travel.

 Castaway Island … high-quality accommodation, meals and activities.

I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in Fiji’s Castaway Island and can vouch for the quality of its accommodation, meals and activities.

Its current ‘Share the Happiness Sale’ is offering five-night stays with rates from about $780 per bure per night, including all meals and either a Family Pass or Aqua Pass.

The package can be booked until March 31, travel next year from January 20 to March 31 and from October 15 to December 23, and in 2019 from January 14 to March 31.

Complimentary meals include a full hot and cold buffet breakfast at Water’s Edge Restaurant or a la carte breakfast at Nuku Marau Bar & Grill.

The complimentary Family Pass gives guests a beach dinner for two adults, with a bottle of champagne included, as well as five hours of babysitting and inner-reef snorkelling and hand-line fishing for two adults and two children.

Guests who choose the complimentary Aqua Pass receive two Banana Boat rides, two hand-line fishing experiences and two outer reef and night snorkelling expeditions.

Visit www.outrigger.com.

 Save on leases with globalCARS on all Citroen models … including this C4 Picasso.

Savings of up to $1000 on European car leases are now available with the Citroen Europass from globalCARS for leases throughout 2018 if booked by January 31.

They include free bonus days, plus 50 per cent off collection and return fees outside of France.

Available for bookings throughout 2018, rates start from $28 a day for a Citroen C3 manual with GPS, with savings available on all 32 Citroen models.

All leases come with unlimited kilometres, zero-excess full insurance for vehicles, which can be collected from 15 locations in France and 13 in other parts of Europe.

Citroen vehicles can be driven throughout the UK and Europe, in Baltic countries and several eastern European regions.

Phone 1300 789 992 or visit www.globalcars.com.au

Adventure of a life time … exploring the Antarctic Peninsula.

Contours Travel is offering a $4000 saving per couple on its new ‘Antarctica, Patagonia and Beyond’ small-group tours for bookings made before January 31.

The discount will help Australians immerse themselves in the wilderness of the Antarctic Peninsula, the southern landscapes of Patagonia, and other bucket-list South American destinations such as Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls.

The offer is valid for two departure dates — with a 28-night tour departing October 28, and a 26-night tour departing February 22, 2019.

A highlight is a full day tour to Patagonia’s Perito Moreno Glacier, a frozen river 37-kilometres long, five-kilometres wide and up to 60-metres high.

Guests will also board the expedition ship, Akademik Ioffe, for a round-trip voyage from Ushuaia to Antarctica. During the cruise, guests can take part in camping onshore, snowshoeing, trekking, zodiac cruising and whale watching.

Guests will have the use of purpose-designed expedition gear free of charge to explore the great white continent in comfort and safety.

Prices start from $25,850 per person, twin-share ex Sydney or Melbourne.

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

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