25 September 2023

Darwin, The Himalayas and more…

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By John Rozentals.

Aranui 5 passengers being taken ashore in the Marquesas.

Tahitian cargo cruise line Aranui Cruises Aranui Cruises has launched its 2020 program with savings of up to $1900 per couple on select cruises.

The cruise line is discounting Aranui 5’s first two voyages of the year, departing on February 6 and 22, 2020, with ocean-view staterooms starting from $6030 per person twin-share, a saving of $1200 per couple.

Aranui Cruises’ 125-metre cargo-and-passenger vessel Aranui 5 is one of the few remaining cargo-cruise experiences in the world and in 2020 the ship will offer 20 scheduled cruises around French Polynesia, mostly consisting of its regular 13-day round-trip voyage from Papeete to Hiva Oa, Nuka Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huka, Tahuata, and Fatu Hiva in the Marquesas; Bora Bora in the Society Islands; and Rangiroa and Fakarava in the Tuamotus.

While guests disembark and enjoy a range of complimentary guided excursions including hikes, 4WD tours, local feasts and visits to archaeological sites, Aranui’s Polynesian crew unload cargo, with the vessel acting as a lifeline to the remote island ports it visits.

Visit www.aranui.com.

Kinosaki Onsen … ready to charm winter travellers.

The Japanese winter has officially started and the town of Kinosaki Onsen has transformed into a winter wonderland ready to charm travellers seeking to warm themselves up in some of the country’s finest hot springs.

But while hot springs are the obvious must-do when visiting Kinosaki Onsen, there are also a variety of other winter experiences that are just as worth delving into — among them, wandering the willow-lined streets and seeing ancient temples and castles covered in snow.

Also, throw delicious winter food, exquisite onsens and winter sports such as skiing, snowshoeing, snow rafting and sledding into the mix.

For more information, visit www.visitkinosaki.com.

The Markha Valley … an inspiration for all keen photographers. Image: Richard I’ Anson.

Join Lonely Planet photographer Richard I’ Anson on World Expeditions’ 15-day ‘Markha Valley Trek & Ladakhi Festivals’ adventure to the Himalayas next September.

The tour takes in all the colour and movement of both the Ladakh and the Dha Festivals as well as a trek through the stunning Himalayan landscape of the Markha Valley.

Richard’s photography tours focus on teaching new skills and the travel experience offers many opportunities to experiment with different light, image framing and subject choice.

They give participants with a special interest in photography the opportunity to develop their technical and creative skills through informal tuition, discussion and feedback while taking pictures in inspirational locations.

Prices are from $4990 per person twin-share.

Phone 1300 720 000 visit www.worldexpeditions.com.

Quite temperate in January … the Andalucian town of Zahara.

Australians like to take their holidays in January, which for those wanting to head to Europe can mean battling ice and snow.

However, On Foot Holidays’ self-guided inn-to-inn hike through the Andalucia region of southern Spain allows January holidaying in quite temperate walking conditions.

The seven-night trek sees travellers stay in villages while walking through the dramatic limestone scenery of the Grazalema National Park.

Ibex, eagles and griffon vultures can often be spotted along this route, which culminates at Ronda, a stunning citadel which sits above a deep ravine and is home to Roman ruins and one of the oldest bull-fighting rings in the world.

Including all accommodation, selected meals and all luggage transfers, the trek is priced from about $2000 per person twin-share.

Visit www.onfootholidays.co.uk.

Halong Bay … site for a tai chi experience with Wendy Wu Tours.

Wendy Wu Tours has created a program of six tours, ranging from 10 to 15 days, to Vietnam, China, India, Cambodia and Japan designed specifically for the solo traveller.

The tours all feature no single supplement, a guaranteed private room, sharing the trip with like-minded travellers, and tours designed with built-in flexibility, giving travellers plenty of opportunities to mingle with other guests but also explore destinations in their own time.

A 15-day ‘Vietnam & Cambodia Experience’ is priced from $5690 solo, with highlights including a sampling of traditional Vietnamese egg coffee and bun thang in Hanoi, tai chi on Halong Bay, joining a local family for lunch and a cooking demonstration in Hoi An, taking a sampan through the canals of the Mekong Delta and visiting a floating fishing village, taking a cyclo tour through Phnom Penh, and exploring the Temples of Angkor by tuk tuk.

Phone 1300 727 998 or visit www.wendywutours.com.au.

Crowne Plaza Melbourne … all 402 guestrooms have been completely transformed.

After a 12-month refurbishment program, Crowne Plaza Melbourne has unveiled a $25 million transformation of its guestrooms.

All 402 guestrooms have been completely transformed, with contemporary bathrooms, stand-alone showers with state-of-the-art showerheads, premium bedding, designer furnishings and striking artwork.

Connectivity throughout the entire hotel has also been upgraded.

The hotel’s city-view rooms now boast spacious walk-in wardrobes and sleek work-stations, while the hotel’s luxury suites feature deep bathtubs, plush bedding, new furniture and sweeping views of the Yarra River and Melbourne city skyline.

Visit www.crowneplaza.com.

Holiday Inn Sydney Airport … save a fortune in parking costs.

A new season of Holiday Inn Sydney Airport’s ‘Park, Stay & Go’ is taking off.

The package includes one night’s accommodation for two people, return airport-shuttle tickets, buffet breakfast, free wi-fi and parking for the duration of your getaway, or up to 15 days.

Additionally, with Holiday Inn’s ‘Kids Stay & Eat Free’ guarantee, children under 12 are included in the package price.

There are packages covering four, seven or 15 days parking, with the option to extend your parking for $15 per day. The packages start from $234, inclusive of seven-nights parking.

The package includes secure undercover parking, saving a fortune in costs charged at both Sydney international and domestic terminals, which can cost up to $52 a day.

Shuttle services from the Holiday Inn to all terminals run regularly throughout the day, and are included for two people in the ‘Park, Stay & Go’ package. Additional tickets can be purchased for $7 each way.

Phone 02 9330 0600 or visit www.holidayinn.com.

Mantra Pandanas … facilities include a lagoon-style pool.

Escape to the Top End with Mantra Hotels.

The group is offering Darwin deals of from $129 per night for a city-view room at both Mantra Pandanas and Mantra on the Esplanade.

Mantra Pandanas is located just a few minutes from Mitchell Street restaurants and Smith Street Mall, with views over Darwin Harbour and the city.

Onsite facilities include a lagoon-style pool and a fully equipped gym.

Mantra on the Esplanade is located just a few minutes by foot from the CBD in a prime waterfront location on the Esplanade, overlooking Darwin Harbour.

Phone 1300 987 603 or visit www.mantrahotels.com.

Perth’s Fringe World … third largest fringe festival in the world.

Perth’s annual Fringe World Festival has released details of its first 150 shows.

Held across the city’s mid-summer, from January 18 to February 17, it is now the third largest fringe festival in the world.

Shows on sale now include Le Aerial, a high-flying performance of breathtaking aerial manoeuvres, and Fuego Carnal, a high-octane spectacle of wild stunts and mesmerising flames.

Visit www.fringeworld.com.au.

A strong commitment to Down Under … Viking Sun in Sydney.

The Vikings will spend more time Down Under — the ships that is.

Viking Orion, the newest member of the line’s ocean fleet, will be calling Australia home for three months every year after arriving in Darwin as part of Viking’s Bali-to-Sydney itinerary, and spend the three months sailing between Sydney and Auckland.

It will depart Sydney in early March.

After its first visit to Australia in February this year, Viking Sun will also be travelling back Down Under in March on a 128-day world cruise, including stops in Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

The simultaneous presence of two of Viking’s six ships in local waters demonstrates just how fast the cruising market is growing here and how much Viking believes in it.

Phone 138 747 or visit vikingcruises.com.au.

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