25 September 2023

North America, The Kimberley and more…

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By John Rozentals.

The Carnarvon Great Walk … right up there with some of the world’s best. Image: Central Highland Development Corporation.

Witness the bold and striking landscape of towering sandstone cliffs, endless tablelands, prolific wildlife and unsurpassed indigenous art sites which have been classed as holding some of the finest rock imagery in Australia.

The Carnarvon Great Walk is right up there with some of the world’s best walking destinations.

Situated approximately 700 kilometres north-west of Brisbane, the Carnarvon Great Walk starts along the main walking track within the Gorge, before exiting out and atop the Great Dividing Range.

Get ready to challenge yourself on this six-seven-day walking experience, testing your strength and stamina, as you venture down deep, mysterious gorges before wandering along a magical plateau which locals proudly call the ‘Roof of Queensland’.

From July 21, the Carnarvon Great Walk will be highlighted as part of the National Trust Q10 Challenge.

Visit www.nationaltrust.org.au.

The Hinton Bay Kitchen Cooking School … it’s fun to join in. Image: Tim Whybrow.

The Hinton Bay Kitchen Cooking School is at the Hinton Bay Vineyard at Hillwood in the Tamar Valley, with the large private kitchen open for visitors to book a variety of cooking classes.

Learn how to make authentic dolmades by picking your own leaves from the Hinton Bay vineyard, or join one of the Italian-vegan, Thai or cocktail-party-food classes.

Cooking class times are generally 10 am till 1 pm for short courses and 9am till 3pm for a full-day course.

This allows time to devour prepared dishes in the kitchen’s dining room overlooking the Tamar Valley, enjoy a drop from the Hinton Bay Vineyard and perfectly match a cooking class menu with the boutique vineyard’s chardonnay or pinot noir.

Book cooking classes as a group of four singles or two couples and stay in the on-site boutique accommodation.

Visit www.hintonbaykitchen.com.au.

The Kimberley … remote wilderness.

To make the remote Kimberley region more accessible, Cruise Express is offering free flights and three nights complimentary land accommodation for bookings on six 2020 Ponant sailings made by this August 31.

A complimentary wilderness adventure is also available on three of the cruises that visit the Kimberley town of Wyndham.

The six 10-night cruises from Broome to Darwin — or vice versa — are on board Ponant’s sleek 184-guest expedition ship, Le Laperouse, which was launched last year and features an underwater, multi-sensory lounge where whale-shaped windows, hydrophones and video cameras enable guests to experience life underwater without getting wet.

Cruise highlights include majestic King George Falls, Montgomery Reef, mangrove crocodile habitats and the world-famous Horizontal Falls where seawater thunders horizontally at high tide through a narrow break in the cliffs.

Cruise Express has released special 14-day packages that, if booked by August 31, are available from $13,099 per person twin-share, and include the 10-night cruise from Broome or Darwin, a free nights accommodation in Broome, two free nights in Darwin and complimentary, return flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide or Perth.

Phone 1300 766 537 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au.

Mantra on Salt Beach … stay from $119 per night.

Mantra Hotels is having a sale from July 22 to midnight July 28 on a range of its Australian and overseas properties.

Stay at Mantra on Salt Beach, for instance, in northern NSW and 20 minutes from Gold Coast Airport, for from $119 per night Sunday to Thursday, two-night minimum booking.

This beachfront location offers an on-site restaurant and bar, lagoon pool and in-house day spa.

The offer includes a two-for-one full-buffet-breakfast voucher, a 25-per-cent-off Season Restaurant dining voucher, free wi-fi and on-site parking.

It is valid for travel until June 30 next year.

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

Pacific Hotel Brisbane … easy access to Roma Street Station, Queens Street Mall and Suncorp Stadium.

The 179 guest rooms and suites of the Pacific Hotel Brisbane, plus the function rooms, restaurant, bar and swimming pool, have been refurbished.

The hotel overlooks the Roma Street parklands of Spring Hill, and is just 100 metres from Brisbane Private Hospital and offers easy access to Roma Street Station, Queens Street Mall and Suncorp Stadium.

Technical upgrades allow the hotel to cater for the needs of contemporary business and leisure guests, with smart TVs and streaming capabilities, and free high-speed wi-fi.

All rooms have direct balcony access.

Visit www.pacifichotelbrisbane.com.au.

Quay Perth … a redevelopment of the former New Esplanade hotel site.

Perth has welcomed the opening of the Quay Perth boutique hotel, just across from waterfront-precinct Elizabeth Quay.

The 80-room hotel is part of the Louis T Collection, and takes inspiration from Western Australia’s natural landscape and Perth’s laid-back vibe.

The redevelopment of the former New Esplanade hotel site has added new guest rooms and public areas, an all-day sidewalk eatery called Community at Quay, and a rooftop bar and restaurant called HQ Bar & Kitchen.

RV Vaikundam … modelled on a traditional rice barge.

Adventure Resorts and Cruises will this October launch extended cruises on Kerala Backwaters in southern India.

To mark the debut of the tropical, seven-night journeys aboard the nine-cabin RV Vaikundam, a traditional wooden barge, from Cochin to Alleppey and vice versa, a discount of 20 per cent is available for sailings from October to April, and there is no a solo supplement.

The cruises will explore Kerala’s labyrinth of palm-lined lakes, lagoons, canals, rivers and inlets.

Passengers aboard the new cruises will cruise past lush paddy fields and visit remote villages, temples, churches, spice markets, martial arts schools and ayurvedic medicine centres, meet traditional craftsmen and farmers and watch the school children, traders and fishermen who use the waterways in dugout canoes for daily commutes and trade.

The two-deck RV Vaikundam is modelled on a traditional rice barge and features nine air-conditioned cabins with ensuites and water views, a restaurant serving Indian and international cuisine, library, open lounge area and panoramic, sundeck for soaking in the ever-changing scenery.

Fares start at start at US$2170 per person.

Visit www.adventurerivercruises.com.

NCL’s Norwegian Sun in Alaska … a captivating land.

Explore mighty snow-capped cliffs onboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship Norwegian Bliss, the recently refurbished Norwegian Joy, Norwegian Jewel or Norwegian Sun, with numerous immersive itineraries available.

Alaska is a captivating land of ancient glaciers, majestic vistas and diverse wildlife, coupled with a culture steeped in a rich history.

From watching frolicking whales from your private balcony while sipping hot chocolate, to meeting a playful pack of huskies at an authentic musher’s kennel, or tracing the historical Klondike Gold Rush Trail on a train journey into the rugged Yukon, there’s as much action ashore as there is on board.

Explore the heart of Alaska’s breathtaking wilderness on a 12-day ‘Denali Alyeska – Southbound Cruise Tour’, for instance, starting out with a land holiday on which guests will enjoy immersive overnight stays in Anchorage, Denali and Girdwood.

Travel the Alaska railroad, visit a sled-dog-musher’s kennel and tour the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Centre before embarking the recently refurbished Norwegian Jewel in Seward.

Phone 1300 255 200 or visit www.ncl.com.

Lake Louise … definitely a North American highlight.

In June next year, guests have the opportunity to immerse themselves in some of North America’s most spectacular wilderness on Ecruising’s 21-night ‘Rocky Mountains and Alaskan Glaciers’ journey.

The itinerary comprises a 12-night tour through the Rocky Mountains, taking in some of the United States’ and Canada’s most iconic national parks along the way, followed by a seven-night cruise through the pristine waters of British Columbia and Alaska on board Celebrity Millennium.

The journey begins with two nights in Denver.

Don’t miss Denver Union Station, home to some of the city’s best cafes and bars, while history buffs will enjoy a visit to the mansion of American philanthropist and famed Titanic survivor, the ‘Unsinkable’ Molly Brown.

From Denver, the journey takes in Rocky Mountain National Park in Northern Colorado, where guests will feel like they’re on top of the world as they traverse the Trail Ridge Road.

Prices are from $8479 per person twin-share, including return international economy airfares and all accommodation.

Phone 1300 369 848 or visit www.ecruising.travel.

The world’s largest bronze Buddha … a fitting end to a marvelous three-day Suzhou itinerary.

Boasting more than 2500 years of history, the oldest city in China’s Yangtze River region offers a blend of evocative gardens, charming water towns and enrapturing natural beauty.

Named by Marco Polo as the ‘Venice of the East’, Suzhou is famed for its enchanting stone bridges, immaculate silk embroidery and delicious Jiangsu-style food.

The Pan Pacific Suzhou team proposes a three-day Suzhou itinerary that begins with a morning walk at Xitang Water Town, includes a tranquil evening at the ancient Tongli Town and concludes with a visit to Ma Shan Tai Hu National Park and a sacred-mountain view of the world’s largest bronze Buddha.

Surrounded by lush greenery, the popular destination features a majestic Brahma palace and Buddhist related sites.

While guests are here, they are encouraged to stop to admire the view of the vast expanse of mountains that envelop this scenic spot.

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