Faith in Trafalgar
Developed as "a direct response to growing demand from Australian travellers", Trafalgar is now offering three new itineraries themed around religious history and Christianity. The tours are exclusive to the Australian market.
The guided trips, based around Europe and the Middle East, feature such Christian classics as Vatican City, the Sistine Chapel, Jerusalem and Basilica in Lourdes, as well as some lesser known sites in Portugal, Spain and France.
Trafalgar emphasises that these "faith itineraries" aren't just for pilgrims, but equally for history buffs or those simply curious about the areas and sites covered.
The 11-day Iberian Miracles is priced from $2749 a person, twin share (land only), and departs from Lisbon on September 20.
The 19-day Adriatic Pilgrimage tour of Italy and Croatia is priced from $4649 a person, twin share (land only), and departs September 15.
And the eight-day Wonders of the Holy Land in Israel is priced from $2299 a person, twin share (land only), departing Tel Aviv on November 21.
Railway adds a little class
Queensland Rail has added a new Gold Class to the popular Kuranda Scenic Railway.
During the nearly two-hour train trip that goes through World Heritage-protected rainforest from Cairns to Kuranda, Gold Class passengers will be offered a selection of regional foods. "The new on-board Gold Class menu showcases the best of Queensland and Tableland produce," says Queensland Rail Travel general manager Carol-Anne Nelson, listing "freshly baked muffins, mango sorbet, as well as a gourmet selection of the state's best cheese, nuts, dessert, wine and beer" as some of the offerings.
There are other advantages, including better seating and a gift pack.
Gold Class costs $73 for children and $97 for adults one way, $133 and $170 return, and for families $315 one way and $588 return.
Wilderness just adds water
Wildman Wilderness Lodge has just reopened following the wet season and the safari-style property, two hours' drive from Darwin on the edge of Kakadu National Park, has introduced a new attraction.
The lodge is hosting trips into the adjacent wetlands environment via its Mary River Wetlands Air Boat Tour. The Mary River Wetlands are home to a vast variety of birdlife as well as crocodiles and barramundi.
The new airboat tour joins a suite of activities that includes a full-day Kakadu tour, guided quad-bike tours and 45-minute walks hosted by indigenous guides. Heading into its third year of operation, the lodge recently won the unique accommodation category in the 2012 Brolga Northern Territory Tourism Awards.
It encompasses 10 cabins and 15 50-square-metre luxury safari tents with en suite. Cabins are $330 a person a night, twin share. The tents are $260 a person a night - double occupancy with each child (aged 12 and under) an additional $95 a night. Pricing includes dinner and breakfast.
Phone (08) 8978 8955.
Great Barrier feast
As a foodie's holiday destination, they don't come more perfect than Orpheus Island Resort, in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.
Renowned for its menu of locally sourced and seasonal dishes served in an ever-changing seven-course degustation, the luxury resort's kitchen is overseen by Arie Prabowo (formerly of The Botanical in Melbourne) and Barrie Crowley. Now the formidable duo have turned their hands to gardening and are happy to be sourcing things even more locally. In addition, the resort is now home to a brood of egg-laying chooks.
The resort is offering free helicopter transfers for stays of five nights or more. Packages from $3500 a person, twin share. See orpheus.com.au.
Sail into serenity in Indonesia
On the outside, the Silolona is a replica of Indonesia's old hardwood sailing ships - it was built using the traditional methods of the Konjo people of Sulawesi. But inside, it has all the trappings of a luxury yacht.
Usually only available for charter, in June the Silolona is taking individual travellers on a cruise around the Komodo Archipelago.
The June 1-6 cruise starts at Labuan Bajo at the western end of Flores, sails north up the eastern coast of Komodo Island to Sabolon Island, heads to the Rinca island park to see the Komodo dragons in their natural habitat, then to Padar for sea kayaking, water-skiing, diving and snorkelling, Batu Muncul and Banta Island, before returning to Labuan Bajo. Rates are about $2000 a day a person in a master cabin or about $1400 a day a person in a guest cabin.
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