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Travellers’ Good Buys Compiled By John Rozentals

June 9, 2018 Travel Deals No Comments Email Email

Foodies living in or visiting Brisbane will be treated to a host of innovative and gourmet foods at this year’s Regional Flavours, including a locally brewed coffee-flavoured beer which will be sampled for the first time at the event.

Regional Flavours will showcase the freshest Queensland produce at street markets, a pop-up riverside bar and live cooking demonstrations on July 21-22, with special emphasis on harnessing the power of superfoods and fresh ingredients.

Food-lovers should get ready to sample exciting new products including Kehoe’s Kitchen pro-biotic beverages, cashew-based cheeses and yoghurts, camel milk products, kombucha and kefir drinks, as well as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices, tea, honey and Queensland wines.

Festival-goers will be able to take part in the development of new food products, with a dedicated pavilion to showcase and taste test interesting food research being undertaken by universities.

Oaks Calypso Plaza … stay two nights for $149 per person twin-share.

Stay two nights on the Gold Coast at the Oaks Calypso Plaza in Coolangatta and pay $149 per person twin-share, including accommodation in a one-bedroom Coolangatta Premier Room, complimentary noon checkout and bottle of wine on arrival.

The deal is valid for sale until June 28, and for various travel periods until September 20.

Facilities at the property include heated swimming pool, waterslides and children’s wading pool, gym, games room and on-site restaurant.

Phone 1300 883 887 or visit

Peppers Silo Hotel … cleverly transformed accommodation in Launceston.

Launceston’s new Peppers Silo Hotel has officially opened its doors to the public.

Originally erected in 1960, the Kings Wharf grain silos were left unused for decades until two years ago when construction began to breathe new life into the structure, transforming the silo barrels into a state-of-the-art contemporary new hotel.

Located in a prime position on the edge of the River Tamar and close to the beautiful Cataract Gorge, the redeveloped site is now a 10-level hotel featuring 108 guest rooms, including 52 inside the barrels of the former silos, a restaurant and bar called Grain of the Silos, undercover car parking, conference facilities for up to 500 people, and an integrated lobby and reception space.

Grain of the Silos is the property’s onsite restaurant and bar, which is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner and features a range of meal options focused on local Tasmanian produce and supporting local farmers and producers.

Peppers Silo has launched a special opening rate. Stay from $199 per night and receive breakfast and complimentary wi-fi. The offer is valid for sale and travel until midnight December 25.

Phone 1300 987 600 or visit


 Sanctuary by Sirromet … surrounded by paperbark trees and giant scribbly gums.

What is thought to be Queensland’s first winery glamping experience has opened at Sirromet Wines estate, 40 minutes from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, in picturesque Mt Cotton.

Stage one of Sanctuary by Sirromet project consists of 18 tented pavilions.

Approval has been given for 54 sites in total, scattered over a 20-acre expanse.

The tented pavilions are located on a hillside and follow the contour down to a lagoon which is home to a variety of native wildlife and surrounded by paperbark trees and giant scribbly gums.

Each has a private balcony floating above the landscape, giving guests a ‘tree house’ impression looking across the canopy and over the lake.

Rates range from $280 to $480 per night for a minimum two-night stay, including a locally sourced breakfast hamper.


Captain Cook Cruises … offers a guarantee on its whale-watching ventures.

It’s only 15 minutes’ sailing time from Sydney’s Circular Quay to the open ocean and the chance to spotting the world’s largest mammal on a Captain Cook whale-watching cruise.

The company operates daily whale-watching cruises throughout the season, which runs until the end of October but peaks in July, just as the NSW school holidays come around.

The cruises depart Circular Quay and take passengers past the Sydney Opera House, Fort Denison and the eastern suburbs, before passing through the Heads.

Humpbacks visit Sydney’s coastline as part of their annual migration and it’s quite possible to witness behaviour such as breaching, spy hopping, pec- and tail-waving and slapping.

Southern rights, orcas and minke whales may also be spotted, as well as seals, albatross and fairy penguins. Dolphins nearly always accompany the cruise, with some pods numbering up to a hundred.

Passengers are offered a whale guarantee — if a whale is not spotted, passengers can cruise again for free.

Captain Cook whale-watching cruises are priced at $85 per adult and $49 per child, but book online and save up to 35 per cent on specials.


 The Kuril Islands … also known as the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’.

The Russian Far East is one of the last unexplored places on Earth.

World Expeditions has three options available to adventure in this remote part of the planet — cruising, walking and sailing.

Among the offers is a new cruising expedition to one of the most geologically active and biologically rich parts of the planet — the large number of live volcanoes on the Kamchatka Peninsula and along the Kuril Islands, which have earned the area the title of the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’.

The 13-day trip focuses on the region’s extraordinary biodiversity, with a week around the remote Kuril Islands, which stretch across the Bering Sea between Russia and Japan.

The first landing at the Kuril Islands promises is a highlight — uninhabited Atlasova, the chain’s northernmost island, is home to the archipelago’s tallest volcano, which forms a quasi-perfect cone rising steeply out of the sea.

Prices start at about $10,125 per person twin-share.


 Part of the thrill of the Northwest Passage … taking on the summer sea ice.

The same forces that opened the legendary Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic to expedition ships will also cause the summer sea ice, one of the most spectacular aspects of the journey, to disappear forever.

According to NASA, in 20 years there may not be any sea ice at all in summer in the Northwest Passage.

That’s why there is extra urgency to book a voyage now to witness the full appeal of this awe-inspiring landscape —fjords, glaciers, icebergs, polar bears, reindeers and the local Inuit culture as well as the breathtaking Northern Lights.

Adventurers can immerse themselves in one of the world’s last frontiers this September on an expedition voyage offered by eco-cruise company Adventure Canada.

The adventure includes Zodiac shore visits and excursions to bring guests up close to the wildlife and provide an insight into the traditional Inuit culture, including a visit to Canada’s northernmost community.

Travellers booking before July 31 will receive free return flights from Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne to Canada, plus a free night’s accommodation both before and after the voyage.

The 18-night ‘Out of the Northwest Passage’ itinerary features a 16-night voyage aboard the 198-passenger Ocean Endeavour from Kugluktuk in Canada’s Arctic, through the famed Northwest Passage to Greenland, with its quaint villages, dramatic fjords, and glaciers.

Prices start at about $20,300 per person twin-share.

Phone 1800 507 777 or visit

 Riviera Travel … will launch an extra three new river ships in Europe.

The upcoming launch of three new river ships will headline Riviera Travel’s 2019 program of five-star river cruises across Europe.

Following the launch of four ships in 2017, the luxury, 167-guest river ship Robert Burns was christened in Austria last month, destined for cruises on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers, while the 121-passenger Douro Splendour will be launched in Portugal this August.

Another two river ships, the 167-passenger William Wordsmith and 132-guest George Eliot, will begin cruising in Europe next year.

Riviera Travel offers a selection of supplement-free cabins available for solo travellers.

Also new for 2019 will be the Dutch port of Kinderdijk, a rustic village with 18th century windmills.

Riviera Travel’s European river sailings are available from $1849 per person twin-share or solo, for an eight-day Blue Danube cruise.


 Being vegan shouldn’t exclude access to everyday food adventures.

In response to a growing plant-based food movement, Intrepid Travel has launched a range of vegan tours to India, Italy and Thailand next year.

“Food is one of the best ways to connect with a local culture, but dietary requirements can be tricky with language barriers,” said Intrepid Travel’s regional product manager Tara Kennaway.

Included is an eight-day ‘India Vegan Food Adventure’, with highlights including waking in Delhi to a hot Indian Chai with soy milk before walking to the Jama Mosque and eating Vegan Samosa and Jalebis on the way.

In Agra, travellers will visit the Taj Mahal before lunch at a cafe that supports acid-attack victims.


Vietnam … a truly exotic destination.

Helen Wong’s Tours has released a 12-day ‘Highlights of Vietnam’ group tour especially created for budget-conscious travellers.

Priced from $2400 per person twin-share, the tour includes return Vietnam Airlines fares from Sydney or Melbourne, and focuses on visits to capital Hanoi, breathtakingly beautiful Halong Bay, former capital Hue and World-Heritage-listed Hoi An.

Cosmopolitan Danang and bustling Ho Chi Minh City, famous for the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels, are also toured in an air-conditioned coach, along with the fascinating Mekong Delta with its stilted homes and seafood farms.

To grab a closer view along the canals in the delta region, travellers will board a sampan for the sightseeing experience.

Nine nights in four-star hotel accommodation (with daily breakfast) are included in the price, along with a night aboard a traditional Vietnam junk, and most lunches.

Phone (02) 9267 7833 or visit

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