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John Rozentals checks out the week’s travel bargains.

July 13, 2020 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Enjoy a feast of food, flavours and fun in Geelong until July 31, from the comfort of your own home and in person at a range of cafes and restaurants.

From home you can learn tricks of the trade from local chefs, try exclusive recipes, dine at home and build your own menu items.

Or plan to visit some Geelong establishments to sample gourmet food and drink. In person you can participate in food-themed activities and offers from restaurants and cafes who need your support.

Visitors should just make sure they are following social distancing guidelines so everyone can stay safe.


 Thredbo’s new gondola: one of several key developments.

Thredbo Resort, in southern NSW, has completed several key developments, including a Merritts gondola, claimed to be the only alpine gondola in Australia.

There is also a new car park, improvements to Dream Run including snowmaking, an expanded grooming fleet, and the continuation of sustainability measures.

The gondola investment will further enhance the resort, replacing the double chairlift and quadrupling capacity.

Snow lovers will be thrilled with easier access to the Cruiser area and the Friday Flat beginners’ area, and with the improvements  made to the popular Dream Run, including a new automated snowmaking system.


Book by December 31 with APT and save $1600 per couple on a 12-day trip to WA’s Kimberley region.

The price of from $7995 per person twin-share includes 32 locally inspired meals and accommodation in the company’s network of wilderness lodges.

The three lodges are strategically positioned to maximise experiences so guests spend less time driving the vast land and more time exploring.


Maitland: very aware of its history.

Historic, foodie, cultural and picturesque, the Hunter region’s Maitland will appeal to families, young professionals and the 50-pluses alike, its open spaces and proximity to Sydney, Central Coast and Newcastle offer a relaxing weekend escape.

Maitland’s cultural community is particularly strong in preserving and exhibiting the rich culture of the region.

Take in an exhibition at the award-winning Maitland Regional Art Gallery; explore the stylish entertainment, dining and retail precinct at The Levee; or sift through antique treasures at the Campbells Store.

A key attraction, Maitland Gaol housed some of Australia’s most hardened and notorious criminals. It is considered the most intact of country gaols in NSW, with many structures in original condition.


 PS Murray Princess: back cruising the Murray River.

Paddlewheeler PS Murray Princess is back cruising the Murray River with a new three-night cruise icluded in the schedule.

The seven-night ‘Upper Murraylands Cruise’ will also make a comeback.

The new ‘long-weekend’, three-night, ‘Murray River Restart Cruise’ travels upriver from the historic port of Mannum discovering historic towns, Australian culture and the food and wine, and flora and fauna, of the picturesque Murray River.

Learn about Aboriginal history at the amazing Ngaut Ngaut Aboriginal Reserve — one of Australia’s most significant archaeological sites, and see the towering sandstone cliffs at Big Bend.

On-board sample the delights of the Murray and Riverland regions with a structured tasting of delicious local produce and wines in the Sturt Dining Room.


 Effervescent: Penelope Kefir Queen is celebrating the diverse produce on the Great Barrier Reef Drive.

Tourism operators in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef have been innovating and reinvigorating while their doors have been closed and now they are ready to take visitors on new journeys exploring the largest reef on Earth, the world’s oldest rainforest and the accessible Outback.

They have launched the Daintree Food Trail, for instance.

It includes what-is-thought-to-be Queensland’s northernmost mushroom farm and a goat farm.

The effervescent Penelope Kefir Queen is celebrating the diverse produce and farm gates on the Great Barrier Reef Drive between Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation,


 Ubirr: the setting sun creates a rich palette of colours.

Kakadu is often mentioned as number one on the travel bucket-list for many Australians, and Paul Hogan brought the national park to the world’s attention in Crocodile Dundee.

Kakadu is less than a three-hour drive from Darwin, with fully-sealed roads making travel to and within Kakadu National Park easy, though 4WD vehicles are recommended to ensure visitors can enjoy the full Crocodile Dundee experience.

Ubirr is the rock formation in Kakadu National Park where Mick Dundee climbs to the top, points toward the horizon, and says “This is my backyard, and over there is the Never Never” while the movie camera pans across the flood plain.

Ubirr’s rock-art galleries contain a remarkable panoramic sweep of history with drawings ranging from the thylacine to the arrival of Europeans.

The best time to visit is sunset, when the setting sun creates a rich palette of colours on the rock outcrops and the vast Nadab Plain below, where buffalos in their thousands used to roam decades ago.


 The Watson Adelaide: an art-inspired experience.

Accor has a range of fully flexible accommodation deals at more than 280 hotels, resorts and apartments across Australia.

Holiday road-trippers can enjoy rates from as low as $99 per night at a range of Accor brands, including Sofitel, MGallery, Art Series, Pullman, Swissôtel, Grand Mercure, Peppers, The Sebel, Mantra, Novotel, Mercure, Tribe, BreakFree, ibis, ibis Styles and ibis Budget.

Stay, for example, at Adelaide’s art-inspired experience The Watson Adelaide.

The hotel draws inspiration from Indigenous artist Yannima Pirkarli Tommy Watson and is located in Adelaide’s Walkerville.

Stay in a two-bedroom apartment amongst Watson prints from $199 per night.


 Basque country: wild scenery.

Next year Adventure Canada will run five expedition voyages in northern Europe, including a new Basque country expedition cruise showcasing the wild scenery and unique, age-old traditions of the Basque culture centred around the Bay of Biscay.

In June and July, the company’s European sojourns will feature the maiden Basque Country cruise, a voyage around the Scottish Isles, a journey from Scotland to Iceland, a circumnavigation of Iceland and an expedition from Iceland to Greenland.

Australian partner, Cruise Traveller is offering a free, one-night stay before each of the cruises, valid for bookings made by October 31.

The five Europe stay-and-cruise packages range from 10 to 12 nights and, including a 15 per cent discount, are available from US$5295 per person twin-share, and also for solo passengers in selected cabins.

The cruises are aboard Adventure Canada’s 198-passenger, eco-friendly Ocean Endeavour.


 Drinks included during lunch and dinner onboard each day: Riviera’s Jane Austen.

Until this August, Riviera Travel River Cruises is offering a free drinks package for all new cruise-only bookings on any of its 350 luxury cruises across Europe in 2021.

The new drinks offer will see Australian passengers enjoy complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and juice during lunch and dinner onboard each day.

The package is valued at $129 per person for five-day cruises, $199 per person for eight-day cruises and $389 per person for 15-day cruises.

An eight-day sailing with Riviera is available from $2579 per person twin-share, or for solo guests, on a ‘Blue Danube’ cruise from Budapest, including daily excursions and wifi.


A little daunting: cycling NZ’s Timber Trail. Image: Studio Zag.

After more than 25 years operating guided cycling tours in New Zealand’s South Island, World Expeditions is fast-tracking its expansion to the North Island, with the launch of five new itineraries.

The new adventures range from an introductory level exploration of the glittering Bay of Islands to a challenging nine-day road cycle from Wellington to Auckland, and follow the company’s format of being professionally guided and fully supported, with hotel/motel ensuite accommodation on a twin-share basis and including most meals.

The two shortest itineraries are suitable for entry level riders, including families with older children.


 Luxury plus: the Paul Gauguin.

Paul Gauguin Cruises has resumed its Tahiti and French Polynesia small-ship voyages with an extensive ‘Covid-Safe Protocol’.

It will welcome both local and international guests on its 10-night ‘Society Islands & Tuamotus’ voyage departing July 29 from Papeete, Tahiti.

In addition to sailing the islands of Huahine, Bora Bora, Motu Mahana, and Moorea, this itinerary also features calls at the atolls of Rangiroa and Fakarava in the Tuamotu Archipelago which are known for their stunning lagoons that teem with marine life.

The ‘covid-safe’ health protocol has been developed by Paul Gauguin Cruises and Ponant and is based on health standards that exceed international regulations.

The Gauguin provides an up-close, authentic experience of the South Seas and luxurious accommodation, exceptional service, gourmet dining and trademark Polynesian hospitality.


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

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