25 September 2023

Kangaroo Island, Japan and more…

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By John Rozentals.

The Ghan … celebrating its 90th-anniversary next year.

Next year marks 90 years since The Ghan embarked on its inaugural journey and began cementing its place in Australian history and its reputation as one of the world’s great train journeys.

With a dedicated anniversary train, 90 days of celebrations and six signature packages featuring The Ghan, there are a range of ways guests can join for the ride.

For a truly memorable experience, board The 90th Anniversary Train, which will depart Adelaide for Darwin on August 4 next year, 90 years to the day since the original Afghan Express left for Alice Springs.

This one-off journey will include unique on-train experiences and off-train excursions, plus a birthday party like no other in the outback.

Festivities will amplify in the months of June, July and August with 90 days of celebrations. Guests on any departure during these months can expect a little something extra by way of a birthday treat from The Ghan.

Or join one of six signature packages and make the most of your journey through the Outback, going beyond the tracks.

Visit www.greatsouthernrail.com.au.

Jungle Surfing’s new rainforest platform … a new way to experience Tropical North Queensland.

Walk the Predator Plank, do a pub crawl in a helicopter, sleep with sharks or zipline through the rainforest in Tropical North Queensland.

Newly launched experiences taking in the Great Barrier Reef and the world’s oldest rainforest offer more ways to explore the only destination with two World-Heritage areas side by side.

New experiences include Jungle Surfing Canopy Tour’s new platform in the world’s oldest rainforest.

It offers 360-degree views of the reef and rainforest plus a zipline that gets passengers up to speeds of 45km/h.

Visit www.junglesurfing.com.au.

Family holiday luxury … Florida Beach House at Mandurah.

Crammed hotel rooms, shared amenities, noisy neighbours, racing to get to breakfast in time, missing out on a seat at the pool.

It doesn’t have to be like that on a family holiday.

Private Properties offers families a range of holiday home options across much of Western Australia in some of the state’s most spectacular locations … locations ideal for hiking, surfing, mountain biking, beach walking or wine tasting.

The business reckons it understands what parents with babies, toddlers, teenagers, and grandparents need to make the perfect holiday and offers a choice of more than 100 luxury family-friendly holiday homes and unforgettable holiday experiences in coastal retreats, on sprawling country estates, character cottages and stunning architecturally designed homes.

Visit www.privateproperties.com.au.

Rome and its empire took their horses seriously … a decoration from the display at the National Museum.

A monumental marble statue of a Roman magistrate, a frieze featuring a rare depiction of female gladiators, and a fragment of a gilded wall painting from Emperor Nero’s Golden House are among the treasures in the British Museum’s ‘Rome: City and Empire’ exhibition, at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

At its only Australian venue, the extensive collection features stories of Rome and its empire, which continue to intrigue 3000 years after its foundation.

The newly developed exhibition features more than 200 objects dating from the 9th century BC to the 6th century AD — many of which have never previously toured.

The exhibition narrates the remarkable true story of how Rome grew from a cluster of small villages to become a powerful empire, the scale of which had never been seen before in the western world.

The exhibition runs until February 3 next year.

Exploring Kangaroo Island with Sealink … freedom plus comfort.

SeaLink has launched new all-inclusive ‘Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail’ packages.

The three-to-five-day accommodated self-drive packages allow walkers to explore all, or parts, of the 61-kilometre trail by day, and by night enjoy the comforts of a hot shower, delicious dinner and a king bed at Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat.

The Wilderness Trail is located in the south-west of Kangaroo Island and not only explores the Islands most rugged, remote and spectacular coastline, but encounters some of its unique wildlife and provides access to iconic attractions.

Highlights include, of course, the popular sites of historic Weirs Cove, Cape du Couedic Lighthouse, Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks.

Prices start from $845 per person twin-share for the three-night package, including return SeaLink with a standard-size vehicle from Cape Jervis, accommodation at the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat, continental breakfast each morning, packed picnic lunch for full days of walking, a two-course dinner each night, transfers to and from the start and finish point each day of the walk, a KI Wilderness Trail Walking Pass, and map.

Visit www.sealink.com.au.

Scenic Diamond on the Gironde in Bordeaux … save up to $4630 per couple.

With the launch of its ‘Love to Travel’ program, Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours has combined some of its best offers across the globe so that Australians can truly realise their love to travel.

They can save, for instance, up to $4630 per couple on the company’s 11-day ‘Normandy and Gems of the Seine’ itinerary, which is priced from $6945 per person twin-share, all-inclusive, with a $95 flight offer to Europe with Singapore Airlines.

Or save up to $2850 per couple on an 18-day ‘Mystical Myanmar’ cruise and tour, which is priced from $11,795 per person twin-share, with Scenic’s free-flights-to-Asia offer.

Phone 138 128 or visit www.scenic.com.au.

A highlight of Japan in winter … cruising on an ice breaker amongst the drift ice.

Even for people who do not ski, Japan offers much for the winter visitor — mingle with the famous snow monkeys, relax in an open-air hot spa bath, experience the charm of a Japanese inn and enjoy a cold beer in an igloo.

Or cruise on an ice breaker amongst the drift ice in the Sea of Okhotsk, watch Japanese red-crowned cranes dancing in a frozen field and try ice fishing.

These are a few of the attractions on Toursgallery’s escorted 15-day ‘Japan Winter Festivals and Nature’ itinerary in February next year.

Travel in heated comfort by private charter coach with an English-speaking Japanese guide and luxuriate in hot spa baths in traditional Japanese style accommodation and enjoy local specialty gourmet dinners.

The tour will centre on five winter festivals, including the Sapporo Snow Festival.

Highlights include seeing how to snow proof a garden, going fishing on a frozen lake, meeting an Ainu craftsman and witnessing some of the best wild-bird watching in Japan.

A steam-train ride across the snow-covered fields of Kushiro Marsh is also included.

Prices are from $9988. Phone 1300 307 317 or visit www.toursgallery.com.

Norwegian Pearl … will be taking Jon Bon Jovi fans around the Mediterranean.

Norwegian Cruise Line will host rocker Bon Jovi’s ‘Runaway To Paradise’ cruises to the Caribbean next April and to the Mediterranean next August.

The fan experiences will include Jon Bon Jovi joining cruisers on board the ship at each destination port, with guests treated to a full rock show on the pool deck, starring Jon Bon Jovi and the 11-piece Kings of Suburbia band, and a second acoustic storyteller-set where cruisers can ask Jon all of their burning questions.

The Caribbean cruise will depart Miami on board Norwegian Jade, while the Mediterranean cruise will depart Barcelona on board Norwegian Pearl.

Guests will get up close with historic memorabilia in the Jon Bon Jovi Gallery, shop for new looks in the Hart N Dagger pop-up shop, and enjoy a meal while giving back to those in need at The JBJ Soul Kitchen.

All guests will take home an autographed event lithograph, and fans who book in the first 400 staterooms on each cruise will get an opportunity to have a picture taken with Jon Bon Jovi.

Prices begin at about $2700 per person twin-share for the Caribbean sailing, and at about $3150 per person twin-share for the Mediterranean sailing

Visit www.ncl.com.

Salt of Palmar … a ‘humanistic’ approach to hospitality.

Newly launched hotel brand Salt will open its first property Salt of Palmar on the east coast of Mauritius on November 1.

Salt describes its approach to hospitality as a ‘humanistic’ one for ‘the culturally curious traveller’, and reckons it will take its guests to the people and immerse them into the heart of Mauritian life, with the opportunity to exchange their time, talent and skills with the local people.

Guests can also join local suppliers and see their work or passion — from pottery with Janine at her Pamplemousses studio and early morning fishing with Kishor, to coaching the local football team with Fabrice and basket weaving with Mrs Bulleeram in Brisée Verdière.

The hotel’s fleet of convertibles and bikes can be hired to explore nearby villages, temples and markets.

Rates start from $285 per double room per night on a bed-and-breakfast basis.

Visit www.saltresorts.com.

A Volga highlight … Kizhi Volga Church of Transfiguration and Intercession.

Those booking Viking’s 13-day ‘Waterways of the Tsars’ itinerary from Moscow to St Petersburg onboard Viking Ingvar for October next year will pay from $7395 per person twin-share for a Deluxe Stateroom, plus receive return economy flights.

This represents a saving of up to $2400 per couple if booked by November 30 this year.

This 13-day voyage from Moscow to St. Petersburg or vice versa reveals the real Russia while sailing the legendary waters of the Volga and Svir Rivers.

Phone 138 747 or visit vikingcruises.com.au.

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