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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

January 12, 2019 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Escape the summer heat and venture into the shady vineyards of the Adelaide Hills as they showcase their famous cool-climate wines and premium produce, plus plenty of music, for the Australia Day weekend and the annual Crush Festival.

The festival will run from January 25-27, with more than 30 venues hosting events ranging from long lunches and degustation dinners, to chilled acoustic music sessions, masterclasses and Mexican fiestas.

General entry to crush non-ticketed events is free. Simply purchase an official souvenir Reidel or Spiegelau wine glass for $10.


 A flashback to slower travel … Cruise Express’s six-day ‘Great Southern Loop’.

A never-before-offered railway adventure will see slow-travel lovers enjoy a heritage steam and diesel journey across NSW and Victoria in May on Cruise Express’s six-day ‘Great Southern Loop’.

The ‘Loop’ begins when the newly-restored diesel locomotive 42103 hauls heritage carriages from Sydney’s Central Station onto the Great Southern Line.

Passengers will relax in period lounge, seating and compartment cars with windows than open for a fresh breeze and a better view of the ever-changing countryside.

From Goulburn, the steam locomotive 5917, built in 1952, will take the train to Junee for lunch in the historic 134-year-old Junee Railway Station Café.

Other highlights of the journey will include the iconic Spirit of Progress to Melbourne, with original carriages including compartment, kiosk and parlor cars, a journey on the giant blue steam locomotive R711 to Seymour and Echuca, and a paddle-steamer lunch cruise on the Murray.

History will then be made when the train crosses the border to Deniliquin — the first time steam has traced the route in more than 20 years.

A coach transfer to the Riverina capital of Griffith will see the group enjoy a private and exclusive wine tasting session at De Bortoli Wines and an authentic Italian lunch at the Piccolo Family Farm, before a journey to the ‘Dish’ in Parkes, and being hauled over the Blue Mountains by diesel and steam locos back to Sydney via Orange, Bathurst and Lithgow.

Phone 1300 766 537 or visit

 The Story Bank … linking Mary Poppins to present-day Maryborough.

When Mary Poppins Returns hit cinema screens on January 1, something magical was stirring in Queensland’s Maryborough — the birthplace of author PL Travers whose imagination hatched the world-famous nanny.

An interactive interpretive centre, in the beautiful historic building where PL Travers was born, is nearing completion in the central-business-district of Maryborough, a three-hour drive north of Brisbane.

The new attraction will be called The Story Bank, honouring the heritage-listed building’s original purpose as the Australian Joint Stock Bank and its new role in housing the community’s stories.

It will include a lifelike sculpture of the spirited characters Jane and Michael Banks sliding down the stair rail.


The city already commemorates its link to the renowned storyteller through a bronze statue of Mary Poppins, unique pedestrian lights featuring silhouettes of the nanny, and a nine-day Mary Poppins Festival each year in June-July.

Captain Cook Cruises … discounts for seniors throughout the NSW Seniors Festival.

Captain Cook Cruises is offering seniors up to 50 per cent off selected Sydney Harbour dining and sightseeing cruises throughout the NSW Seniors Festival which runs February 13-24.

The deals are valid on Sydney Harbour Buffet Lunch and Harbour Story Premium cruises for all NSW senior card holders’ and Australian national and state senior card holders.

The seafood buffet, aboard flagship vessel MV Sydney 2000, includes fresh Sydney rock oysters, king prawns, succulent fish and mussels, plus a wide range of non-seafood and vegetarian dishes, desserts and cheeses. A full commentary of the Harbour sights is also provided.

It is priced at $59 per senior, normally $95 per person, and departs daily at 12 noon from King St Wharf No 1 in Darling Harbour, and from Circular Quay Wharf No 6 at 12.30pm.

The Seniors Festival Harbour Story Premium cruise explores the famous landmarks of Sydney Harbour and features fun and personalised commentary on the sights, people and history of what has been described as the world’s most beautiful harbour.

The cruise includes a glass of sparkling wine, a selection of sweet and savoury treats, and Vittoria coffee or fine teas.

Cost is $27.50 per senior, normally $55 per person.


 Novotel Twin Waters Resort … extending summer.

The Sunshine Coast’s Novotel Twin Waters Resort is offering a family package that lasts through till the end of March.

Applicable for stays from January28 through to March 31, the three-night package is available from $399 per family and includes buffet breakfast daily for two adults and up to two children (15 years or under) at Nouveau Restaurant, two-for-one bike hire, and two-for-one stand-up paddleboard hire.

On-site activities include outdoor pool and spa, catamaran sailing and kayaking on the private lagoon, watersports, trampoline jump zone, mini-golf and segway tours.

Phone 07 5448 8000 or visit

 Premier Residences Emerald Bay … easy access to the world’s longest cable car ride.

AccorHotels had added the 745-room Premier Residences Emerald Bay on the island of Phu Quoc to its Vietnam portfolio.

The resort offers easy access to Hon Thom Cable Car, the world’s longest cable car ride and one that connects An Thoi town and Hon Thom Island, giving travellers an opportunity to immerse in the panoramic view of the southern islets, especially renowned at sunset.

Phu Quoc is located 45 kilometres west of Ha Tien in the far south of Vietnam, and is a hub of marine activity, housing large patches of coastal ecosystems, and nearly 108 species of corals, 135 species of coral reef fish and 132 different types of mollusks, as well as migrating fish and marine mammals in its surrounding waters.

The resort boasts three restaurant and two bars.

Leisure facilities include a fitness centre, yoga studio and outdoor pool that overlooks Khem Beach.


 Mulia Spa … treatments that focus on a full rejuvenation journey.

Mulia Spa at Mulia Resort & Villas in Bali’s Nusa Dua has introduced a series of treatments that focus on a full rejuvenation journey through detoxification.

Mulia Spa Holistic Holiday packages offer the combination of relaxation, cleansing and balancing treatments within the sanctuary of its wellness suites.

Mulia Spa’s team of professional therapists will deliver a series of signature treatments from a relaxing massage spa, to a blend of sculpting scrub and Ayurveda to clear blocked chakras and restore equilibrium.

Choose between a five-day detox-and-balance package and a three-day detox package that showcases Mulia Spa’s signature treatments to help guests maintain balance in their lives.


 Plenty of South American highlights … 55 days with Tucan Travel.

Tucan Travel has launched a 55-day ‘Ultimate South America Tour’ which enables travellers to tick off highlights such as Machu Picchu via the Inca Trail Trek, the Amazon Jungle and Uyuni Salt Flats, plus cities such as Santiago, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, as well as Patagonia and the Galapagos Islands, which previously had to be booked as a separate package.

Prices are from $17,891, plus local payment of USD1040, from Cartagena to Rio de Janeiro.

Included are all accommodation, with three nights camping in Torres del Paine, all breakfasts, 15 lunches, 14 dinners, a two-day Amazon jungle excursion, Inca Trail Trek and Machu Picchu entrance fee, Lake Titicaca day trip, entrance and guided walks in Torres del Paine National Park, Perito Moreno Glacier tour, guided walks in Los Glaciares National Park, entrance to Iguazu Falls from Argentina and Brazil sides, and a four-day Galapagos Cruise.


 Vanvouver … midpoint of a 13-night Cruise1st package.

Visit Alaska and the Canadian Rockies with Princess Cruises on this 13-night fly/tour/cruise package from Cruise1st in September.

A seven-day pre-cruise tour starts with a trip to Head-Smashed-in-Buffalo-Jump, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The tour from there is a non-stop adventure packed with historical sites, national parks, glaciers and other breath-taking natural wonders through areas including Lake Louise and the Columbia Icefield, Sun Peaks and Whistler before arriving in Vancouver.

Travellers then embark on Island Princess for a five-night cruise which stops at Juneau and Ketchikan, before arriving back into Vancouver ahead of the return flight to Australia.

The package is priced from $3599 per person twin-share ex Sydney.

Phone 1300 596 345 or visit

Viking Star in Alaska.

Viking has announced new departure dates for some of its most popular ocean cruises, starting from August 2020 right through to March 2021.

These include new departure dates for the following itineraries:

‘Far East & Alaska’ – departing August 24, 2020, from Vancouver to Hong Kong. This 37-day cruise is priced from $20,995 per person in a veranda stateroom.

‘North Pacific Passage’ – departing August 24, 2020, from Vancouver to Tokyo. This 23-day cruise is priced from $11,595 per person in a veranda stateroom.

‘In the Wake of the Vikings’ – departing August 27, 2020, from Bergen to Montreal. This 15-day cruise is priced from $10,995 per person in a veranda stateroom.

Phone 138 747 or visit

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