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John Rozentals checks out the week’s travel bargains.

June 29, 2020 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

To encourage travellers to hit the road and take a drive-holiday, Accor has launched a selection of ‘Time to Drive’ deals at more than 340 hotels, resorts and apartments across Australia and New Zealand.

Road-trippers can enjoy fully flexible rates from $85 per night at a range of Accor brands, including SO/, Sofitel, MGallery, Art Series, Pullman, Swissôtel, Grand Mercure, Peppers, The Sebel, Mantra, Novotel, Mercure, Tribe, BreakFree, ibis, ibis Styles and ibis Budget.

Accor’s ‘Time to Drive’ deals are valid for new bookings made before June 30, for stays up until 13 months from the booking date.

Explore vibrant Melbourne, for instance, with a stay in the city, at Hotel Lindrum Melbourne MGallery from $215 per night.

This hotel offers access to much of Melbourne, from its sporting arenas, shops and cultural attractions, to its stylish bars and restaurants.


Halcyon House: welcoming guests again. Image: Kara Rosenlund.

One of Australia’s most coveted and loved beachside hotels, Halcyon House, near Cabarita Beach in very northern NSW, will reopen on July 2, welcoming guests again to the 21-room boutique hotel which has undergone a deep clean and stringent new health, and safety protocols have been implemented to ensure a safe stay for all guests.

Operational adjustments have been made in order for social distancing guidelines to be adhered to, and, for the time being, Halcyon House’s restaurant, Paper Daisy, will be open exclusively to in-house guests for breakfast and lunch.

All in-house guests will receive a four-course dinner at Paper Daisy each night as part of their stay.


 The Great Barrier Reef: get a bird’s eye view.

Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef are open for visitors wanting to enjoy warm sunny days in winter.

Explore the world’s oldest rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef and the Outback with some great offers to add value to your holiday in the tropics.

Snuggle by the fire at Rose Gums Wilderness Retreat, for instance, or throw on a pair of dark sunnies and head for one of the exclusive properties in the Port Douglas area frequented by Oscar winners, including the coveted Bali Hai where Gold Logie winner Rebecca Gibney held her glamourous wedding.

And get a bird’s eye view of the Great Barrier Reef before you land on your own private sand cay off Cairns for a bottle of bubbles with Nautilus Aviation.


 Kangaroo Island: life isn’t necessarily a beach.

After surviving devastating bushfires and covid-19 travel restrictions, Kangaroo Island is back in business and ferry operator, SeaLink South Australia has put together a range of ‘Kangaroo Island You’ll Love It’ self-drive packages.

SeaLink South Australia’s ‘Kangaroo Island You’ll Love It’ campaign includes a range of self-drive packages starting with weekend getaways, bonus accommodation offers and discount vouchers to use at a variety of attractions, cafes, adventure activities and cellar doors around the island.

‘KI Weekend Getaway’ packages include one-night accommodation, return ferry for passengers and their car and discount vouchers, with bonuses such as free breakfast.

All packages can be extended to two nights so every corner of the island can be explored and enjoyed.

The weekend packages start from $272 per person at Kangaroo Island Seafront Hotel in a Sorrento’s Room and range in validity till July 31 or August 31.


 Metro Aspire Hotel Sydney: a cool place to eat.

With zoos, animal parks, aquariums, museums and galleries in NSW reopen, now is the perfect time to book a short break in Sydney close to all the attractions at Darling Harbour.

Metro Aspire Hotel Sydney, located in Ultimo, is offering rooms from $80 per night.

The offer includes accommodation in a Premium Room (ideal for families with bedding to suit up to five guests); free upgrade to an Executive Room (subject to availability), overnight car parking for $1, early check-in at 1pm, and late check-out at noon.


 Lake Moogerah: picture-postcard views.

Known for its breathtaking scenery, soaring peaks, local produce, vibrant arts and crafts plus expansive bushwalking and rainforest tracks, the Scenic Rim is only 90 minutes from Brisbane and all of it falls within 150 kilometres of the city centre.

Located within the grounds of O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards, for instance, Mountview Alpaca Farm lets you feed alpacas and walk them around the vineyard grounds. While you share time with your new fluffy friends, indulge with a fine bottle of wine, a stone-baked pizza or a picnic basket while enjoying the relaxed country setting next to the scenic Canungra Creek.

And don’t forget to pick up sweet treats from Lemon Lovers Gelato as you head to Tamborine Mountain.

Park the car and wander down Long Road to explore the art, craft, gift and knick-knack stores along Gallery Walk.

Before you head back to the city, a picnic at Lake Moogerah with picture-postcard views from the lookout is essential.

It’s a popular spot for boating, bushwalking and fishing enthusiasts (licence required). Lay down the picnic blanket, cover it with your recently purchased baked goodies, and take some time to chill before hitting the road.


 Otway Fly Treetop Adventures: moving forward with a cashless approach.

In line with the Victorian Government’s recent move to ease covid-19 restrictions, Otway Fly Treetop Adventures has reopened its doors to the public.

Guests can discover the unique beauty of the Otways from the elevated walkway knowing there are additional health and safety measures in place to ensure the wellbeing of all visitors and stff.

Otway Fly Treetop Adventures is moving forward with a cashless approach and is requesting all visitors pre-book their tickets online to guarantee entry.


Taronga Zoo Sydney: plenty to gasp at.

Taronga Zoo Sydney has reopened, offering guests the chance to reconnect with their favourite animals and nature, enjoy time safely with family and friends and meet some new faces with the arrival of giraffe mother and calf, Kito and Ebo, from Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Following advice, daily visitor numbers will initially be lower than normal capacity, and guests, including zoo friends, will need to register their visit online before attending.

For the first time in more than 20 years, guests to Taronga Zoo Sydney will be able to see a giraffe calf.

Since arriving last week, Ebo and Kito have become comfortable with the new members of their herd and made themselves at home in their new exhibit, which is three times longer than Taronga Zoo Sydney’s original space and will allow the giraffes to gallop from one end of the exhibit to the other.


 The Banyan Tree Group: has launched an integrated health and well-being program.

In preparation for the total return of travel, Banyan Tree Group is committed to going the extra mile to ensure a safe sanctuary for staff and guests.

The group has launched the SafeSanctuary Program, an integrated health and well-being program that will be rolled out progressively  sthroughout all properties.

The SafeSanctuary Seal has over 40 areas of enhanced protocols, including screening procedures, hygiene stations and redesigned processes throughout the guest experience.


Hôtel Perle d’Orient Cat Ba – MGallery: encourages travellers, families and couples to explore the charm and elegance of yesteryear.

Nestled between towering limestone karsts and verdant island mountains, Hôtel Perle d’Orient Cat Ba – MGallery welcomes travellers to Vietnam’s picturesque Lan Ha Bay.

Offering guests views of Lan Ha Bay and the ecologically diverse Cat Ba National Park, the hotel is claimed as the first international luxury property on Cat Ba Island, which is set in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Surrounded by spectacular cliffs and offering exclusive access to its own private beach, Hôtel Perle d’Orient Cat Ba – MGallery encourages travellers, families and couples to explore the charm and elegance of yesteryear.

Featuring an open-concept layout modelled after traditional Vietnamese homes, each of the 121 guestrooms is designed with neoclassical furnishings to encapsulate the spirit of the heyday Indochine era.

Cat Ba is considered the adventure tourism capital of Vietnam, known for its sporting activities such as kayaking, rock climbing, trekking and mountain biking.


 Hokkaido’s ‘Sea of Clouds’: a well known natural phenomenon.

As the agricultural pillar of Japan, Hokkaido’s landscape is marked with rolling hills and flowing rivers backdropped by distant mountain ranges.

With temperatures averaging 22°C and wide expanses of pristine nature to explore, it is the perfect scenic destination for an active holiday.

When venturing to Hokkaido, it makes sense to seek out an experience unique to the area. In the secluded region of Shimukappu forms the natural phenomena ‘Sea of Clouds’.

Backdropped by the Tokachi and Hidaka mountain ranges this scene only appears when warm winds off the coast create fogs that coat the mountain ranges and are gradually pushed upwards.

The area of Furano is surrounded by the Daisetsuzan mountain ranges and dotted with blooming flower fields and wide meadows and lakes, creating a varied landscape to explore.

Cycling is one of the best ways to get around, with rentals starting from about 200 yen/hour.


Yukon’s Klondike: discover the realities of prospecting life.

Sourdough has become the baking craze of the pandemic, with countless people across the globe taking advantage of the slower pace to return to the simple things in life: decluttering the house, gardening and baking.

Traditional sourdough is strongly associated with the gold rushes of North America, none more so than the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898 in Canada’s north-west Yukon Territory.

Sourdough was an integral part of the harsh life of a miner during the Klondike Gold Rush, when food was scarce, winters were long, and having some sourdough starter and a large bag of flour could greatly increase a miner’s quality of life.

Step back to a time when thousands of miners struggled across the Chilkoot Pass and floated the Yukon River to Dawson City, surviving on stories of riches found in the creek.

Gold Bottom Mine Tours offers one of the only authentic operating placer gold mine tours in the Klondike.

Learn the art of panning in the creek and listen to the incredible stories about life in the goldfields.


NOTE: Potential travellers should check the status of individual events and establishments with regard to the coronavirus outbreak.

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