Going places: Deals and adventures



Stay five nights for the price of four at the exclusive Semara Luxury Villa Resort Uluwatu​ in Bali. Rates include transfers, car and driver for eight hours a day, dedicated butler and chef, free entrance to Finn's Beach Club, a Body Temple Spa voucher plus Wi-Fi. See semarauluwatu.com.


Majestic Whale Encounters is offering $300 a couple off a 2016 whale swim tour in Tonga. It will also donate $300 a booking to a cyclone-damaged Tongan school.

The deal applies to the August 23, 2016 departure of an eight-day holiday that includes five days of whale swims. From $3941 a person, twin share. Book by  October 15.  Phone 0405 594 253. See majesticwhaleencounters.com.au.



Celebrity Cruises has extended its European Early Bird sale. Get a complimentary upgrade on your optional extras package to get a beverage package, unlimited internet and pre-paid gratuities or  $213 in on-board credit a person – savings worth up to $2650 a stateroom on a 14-night cruise. Offer valid until October 18. See celebritycruises.com.au.


This 23-night Casinos, Cathedrals and Camels holiday starts on April 18 with a flight to Las Vegas and a three-night stay, a night in Fort Lauderdale, then a 15-night cruise of Spain. There's a two-night stay in Dubai before the flight home from Barcelona.  From $5699 a person twin share. Book before October 31.  See worldwidecruisecentres.com.au.



Save $300 a couple on 2016 Asian holidays with Cosmos if booking before December 1. Tours are in China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, India and Sri Lanka and range from seven to 16 days.  An example is the new A China Experience – a nine-day trip taking in Shanghai and Beijing.  Priced from $1680 a person twin share.  Phone 1300 230 234.  Visit cosmostours.com.au.


Book a 2016 Rocky Mountaineer trip and receive up to $800 a couple in added value. The credit can be used on pre- and post-tour accommodation, meal plans, extra activities or towards a pre- or post-tour Rockies Alaskan cruise itinerary.

 The deal is on offer through International Rail. Phone 1300 387 245. See internationalrail.com.au.



Peppers Awaroa Lodge in the Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand's South Island re-opens in spring after its winter closure. Save up to 15 per cent when you stay two nights or more with rates starting from $208 a night in a standard room. 

Valid for sale until October 31 and for travel until April 30, 2016. See peppers.co.nz/awaroa.


Members of Design Hotels Community get up to 50 per cent off rates at new hotels. The properties are in Moscow, Zurich, Paris, Bali and beyond. One of them is Sydney's The Old Clare.

$220 a night, a saving of about $80. You also get a welcome gift, a daily bottle of water, Wi-Fi, upgrade and late check-out (subject to availability). See designhotels.com.



Rail Europe is offering a 20 per cent discount on the France Rail Pass and more. Bookings on the France Rail Pass must be made by November 3, 2015 and travel completed by November 2, 2016. There are lots of other amazing deals in Rail Europe's 20th anniversary sale. See  raileurope.com.au.


Paris B&B and apartment booking service Petite Paris is having a Winter and New Year Paris Apartment Sale. From November to March 2016, you can save up to 25 per cent off select Paris B&Bs and homes. Valid for sale till end March, and for stays November to March. See petiteparis.com.au.


Madeleine Clow, Club Med Australia and New Zealand general manager

Q. Some dream of skiing in Europe over the Christmas holidays but think it cost-prohibitive. Are there any areas that are easier on the pocket? And how can travellers get the best out of their stay, budget-wise? 

A. There are areas in the French Alps with more affordable options such as Le Trois Vallees​ and in the Espace Killy. You can also find less expensive alternatives in Italy, and Switzerland, as there are a high concentration of resorts and accommodation there.

But a huge money-saver for travellers is booking all-inclusive. With high price tags for things like ski hire and lessons and meals on the mountain, booking all-inclusive means you can set your budget up front and leave your wallet at home. Club Med has many European ski destinations with all-inclusive options suitable for those dreaming of a white Christmas. Our newest Resort, Val Thorens Sensations, boasts stellar ski conditions, authentic French and Italian cuisine and activity options for the non-skier, all included in one price.


A GPS is essential on the road overseas but include it in your car rental and it will add at least $10 a  day. So buy a GPS system for your smartphone or tablet from Sygic (sygic.com), which gives you maps with voice prompts at a reasonable price. Once downloaded, there's no need for a data connection, and no expensive global roaming downloads. 




Australian travellers head off overseas are increasing looking to multi-task, add a cruise and a tour for instance, or a personalised itinerary to a group one.

Says Wendy Wu's marketing manager, Amanda Bruno, "Australians like to make the most of their overseas airfares by combining as many experiences as possible within a particular time frame. In our recently released 2016/17 brochure range, all escorted tours have suggested independent add-on itineraries to personalise clients' holidays."

That's because more and more, we're realising the value and ease in putting all the components of a holiday with the one tour company. "It's definitely a trend," says Beyond Travel marketing manager Bryce Crampton.

"We are also seeing people take a tour and add on a smaller town or region that holds particular interest for them. Most often they are exploring their family heritage. We get a lot of these requests, particularly in the Baltics and Poland.

"Cruise tour combos offer the best of both worlds and in some regions are now among our biggest sellers. Enjoying the spectacular alpine scenery of Slovenia and beautiful Plitivice Lakes along with an eight-day Dalmatian Island cruise is the most popular combination at the moment."

Even for those choosing to do their own thing for a bit, there are advantages in using the expertise of a tour operator. Says Bruno: "Many customers are interested in doing independent travel before or after their group tour and Wendy Wu Tours offers a comprehensive range of independent packages to assist customers in creating their own personalised itinerary." The benefits of that are manifold. In often impermeable China, for example, Bruno says, Wendy Wu Tours offers competitive rates for ground services because of partnerships with ground operators as well as having its own office in China.

See wendywutours.com.au; beyondtravel.com.au