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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

February 24, 2018 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Captain Cook Cruises is offering seniors-card holders savings of up to 48 per cent on lunch and sightseeing cruises on Sydney Harbour throughout the NSW Seniors Festival from April 4-15.

The seafood buffet lunch cruise, for instance, is priced at $55 per senior, instead of the normal $89 per person, and departs daily at noon from Darling Harbour, returning at 1.45pm, and from Circular Quay at 12.30pm, returning at 2.20pm.

The ‘Harbour Story Premium’ cruise explores the famous landmarks of Sydney Harbour and features fun and personalised commentary on the sights, people and history of the world’s most beautiful harbour.

The price for seniors is $27.50 instead of the normal $55, and includes a glass of sparkling wine, a Vittoria coffee or a selection of fine teas, and a mixed sweet-and-savoury plate.


William ‘Biri’ Duffin … takes great pride in being behind the scenes of performances at Tjapukai.

As a stage technician for the world’s longest-running stage show, William ‘Biri’ Duffin takes great pride in being behind the scenes of performances at Tjapukai, an Aboriginal cultural park in Cairns.

Showcasing the authentic culture of the Djabugay people, Tjapukai provides employment for the local Indigenous community, with 26 Djabugay descendants working in the business.

Biri, whose name means fire in Djabugay language, is also Chairman of the Djabugay Aboriginal Corporations, which includes the Buda:Dji Aboriginal Development Association, which makes sure Djabugay culture is presented correctly and work is created for ‘our mob’.

Tjapukai, which hosted the Queen and Prince Philip in 2002, was founded in 1987 and is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest running stage show.


 A SunRice Festival highlight … hot-air balloons lighting up the night sky.

Celebrate Easter in the heart of Australia’s food bowl, the Riverina, at the 2018 Leeton SunRice Festival.

This family-friendly foodie bonanza, held over five days between March 29 and April 2, offers something for just about every interest, from an Italian alfresco long lunch to hot-air ballooning, a community harvest street parade, vintage cars, open gardens, twilight markets and, of course, plenty of wine.

Key events include: the 1950s-themed Rock ’n’ the Roxy Cocktail Party at the historic Roxy Theatre; the Tastes of Leeton showcase of local produce; a street parade and festival along Leeton’s main street; Leeton’s Longest Lunch; an evening of night markets and kids’ entertainment with hot-air balloons lighting up the night sky; and the Riverina Skate Championships.


 Hunting for prized black winter truffles near Canberra.

The Hyatt Hotel Canberra is offering a truffle indulgence package during the region’s annual truffle festival which runs for 12 weeks from June to August.

The celebration offers the chance to hunt for the prized black winter truffles and to see and taste them transformed into delicious cuisine.

Enjoy a tour of the National Gallery of Australia followed by the last-post ceremony at the Australian War Memorial before joining Executive Chef Nitin Kumar and a champagne ambassador from Veuve Clicquot as the hotel celebrates Canberra’s truffle festival with a six-course degustation menu where each course is matched with champagne.

Wake up the next morning with the possibility of a scenic hot-air balloon ride followed by a champagne breakfast. Then spend the afternoon with one of Canberra’s award-winning truffle growers and participate in a truffle hunt.

Phone 02 6269 8705 or visit

 The rebuilt Waltzing Matilda Centre … the pride of western Queensland once more.

The entire town of Winton will become a festival site this April 19-22 as visitors to the Outback Queensland town celebrate the re-opening of the Waltzing Matilda Centre.

The Way Out West Fest line-up features artists such as Jessica Mauboy, John Williamson, The Living End, Kip Moore (US), Lee Brice (US), James Blundell and a 2018 Tamworth Golden Guitar winner, Brad Butcher.

The Saturday Outback race meeting will be included in the ticket price, but the real attractions will be the Outback’s incredible landscapes, friendly country hospitality, unique wildlife and rich history.

The newly rebuilt $23 million Waltzing Matilda Centre will be the pride of western Queensland once more — a landmark celebrating the resilience of the local community as well as the spirit of what is our unofficial national anthem.


 The 46-guest river ship Mahabaahu on the Brahmaputra in Assam.

The majestic jewel of India, the Taj Mahal, the legendary Bengal tiger and the remote and sacred Brahmaputra River combine as highlights of a new river cruise tour to India in 2019.

Released by Cruise Traveller in partnership with Indian river cruise company, Adventure Resorts and Cruises (ARC), the 12-night ‘Taj Mahal and Tigers’ package links a five-night tour of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur with a seven-night cruise aboard the 46-guest river ship Mahabaahu on the Brahmaputra in Assam, a culturally intact region in the far north-east of India.

Assam is home to the greatest population of single-horned rhinos in the world and other rare animals such as the Bengal tiger and wild water buffalo. It also provides one of the last wild habitats for the Asian elephant.

The adventure is priced from $6385 per person twin-share if booked by April 30 this year.

Phone 1800 507 777 or visit

The Coral Coast is the ‘salad bowl of Fiji’

If you’re heading to Fiji and want to hit up the local haunts or discover unique activities that won’t break the travel budget, STA Travel has compiled some of the best experiences you can get for under $20.

Hop on the bus — Take the bus from Nadi to Suva for only $11 to see the beautiful Coral Coast. This route will take you through the ‘salad bowl of Fiji’ where you can purchase fresh local produce from market vendors along the highway.

Local kava — Have a try of the iconic Fijian drink, kava, at a local market for less than $2 a bowl.

Horse riding on the beach — For $10 you can ride a horse along one of the best beaches in the world. Head to Natadola Bay, a picturesque spot on the Coral Coast, and take in the serenity riding your horse along the long stretch of white sandy beach.

Support a local team — If you’re visiting over the weekend, make sure you catch a local rugby game. Rugby is Fiji’s national game, played by people of all ages and levels. Wherever you go, you’ll find a rugby field or paddock filled with locals playing in true flamboyant Fijian style. Entry fee is about $3.

Feel fresh with a niu — Drink fresh coconut juice for only $2! It’s easy to find some, just keep an eye out for stalls along the highway or at local markets.

Curry along — If you’re in the mood for some curry, find some of the best for under $10 around Pacific Harbour.

Be in two places at once — Take a bus ride to the 180-degree Meridian International Date Line on the island of Tavenui. In the village of Waiyevo, there is a dedicated spot for visitors to put one foot in yesterday and the other in today.

Phone 134 782 or visit

 Mexico’s vibrant ‘Day of the Dead’ festival … a lively and joyful celebration of colour, joy and love.

Australians can experience Mexico’s vibrant ‘Day of the Dead’ festival — the setting of Disney’s new film Coco — on a 19-day itinerary offered by Contours Travel.

On November 1-2 each year, it is believed that the border between the underworld and the world of the living is at its thinnest and so the departed can come back and visit.

Families often decorate tombstones with marigold flowers to help guide the dead to their world, and offerings to ancestors including their favourite food and drink are erected in homes.

Dating back several thousand years, the festival is a blend of indigenous and Hispanic traditions and is a lively and joyful celebration of colour, joy and love.

Contours Travel offers independent travellers a 19-day ‘Discover Mexico’ sample itinerary which showcases Mexico’s fine cuisine, colonial cities, traditional handcrafts, Maya ruins, majestic canyons and snowcapped volcanoes.

Contours Travel recommends Oaxaca, a city in Southwest Mexico, where guests stay on the sixth, seventh and eighth nights of the sample itinerary, as the ideal place to experience the iconic ‘Day of the Dead’ event.

The adventure is priced from $4499 per person twin-share, land content only.

Phone 1300 135 391 or visit

 Seadream … it’s like having your own yacht tucked away in the French Riviera.

Seadream Yacht Club still has space on a May sailing that embraces a near-dozen ports, both famous and quietly tucked away, in the Mediterranean.

They include Motril, the stepping-off point to the ancient Moorish city of Granada in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, three of Spain’s famed Balearic Islands, and legendary Saint-Tropez, Cannes and Nice on the French Riviera.

Sailing on May 2 from Malaga on Spain’s southern Costa del Sol and one of the oldest cities in the world, the mega motor-cruiser SeaDream II, which carries just 112 guests in five-star luxury, will have eight days in ports famed for their white beaches, ancient walled cities and their narrow streets and laneways.

There will also be a full day at sea to indulge SeaDream’s own renowned dining and services poolside, at the Top of the Yacht Bar or in your own quiet corner.

Prices for this 10-day sailing start from about $8350 per person twin-share, including award-winning cuisine, premium drinks both with meals and at the no-charge bars, power and sail water-sports, use of the golf simulator and fitness centre, port charges and taxes, and staff and crew gratuities.


 Glacier Bay … a highlight of the ‘Iconic Rockies and Alaska’ cruise.

Travelmarvel is offering savings across its range of 2018 and 2019 tours, including fly-free offers to Europe, Russia, Egypt, Vietnam and Cambodia.

Those wishing to visit the icy waters of Alaska and scale the epic mountains of Canada in 2018 can join Travelmarvel on the ‘Iconic Rockies and Alaska’ cruise, which is priced $10,295 per person twin-share and includes a two-for-one airfare deal.

Travelmarvel’s 15-day ‘European Gems’ Budapest-to-Amsterdam river cruise is priced from $5295 per person twin-share, including a fly-free offer and early payment discount of up to $1000 per couple.

The sale ends on March 31.

Phone 1300 196 420 or visit

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