25 September 2023

Sydney, Greece and more…

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A giant fish-tank dominates the reception area in the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour.

What is thought to be Australia’s largest hotel fish-tank has been unveiled at the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, providing a spectacularly vivid welcome to Sydney for visitors from around the world.

The 12-metre, 12,000-litre aquarium, which is designed to evoke Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, holds more than 50 marine species, including many fish varieties from ‘The Tank Gang’, which starred in Finding Nemo, the famous animated film set in Sydney Harbour and along Australia’s east coast.

The giant fish-tank is the inspiration of the Sofitel’s owner, Dr Jerry Schwartz, who has introduced aquariums to a number of his other hotels in Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

“Australia is dominated by its seascape, and we wanted to give visitors a really meaningful and vivid experience when they checked in,” said Dr Schwartz.

Le Laperouse and the Kimberley … a magnificent combination.

Cruise Express has an exclusive allocation of cabins on five luxury 10-night Kimberley cruises next year aboard Ponant’s five-star French mega-yacht Le Laperouse.

Prices start at $9990 per person twin-share, a saving of up to $6000 per couple compared to the current full fares.

Also, a free scenic flight over the beehive-shaped peaks of the Bungle Bungle Range is available on three voyages.

The Kimberley wilderness boasts magnificent waterfalls, remote coves, indigenous rock art, abundant wildlife and majestic coastal cliffs that glow red at sunset.

The 184-guest Le Laperouse takes guests to attractions such as the majestic King George Falls, Mitchell Falls and Montgomery Reef.

The itinerary also features the world-famous Horizontal Falls, where the sea thunders horizontally at high tide through a narrow break in the cliffs, forming huge rapids.

Each cruise includes shore excursions and zodiac expeditions ashore. Onboard drinks and a complimentary minibar are also included.

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

It’s not quite sunset but you get the drift … the outstanding outlook from a river-view balcony at Metro Hotel Perth.

Relax and enjoy the sunset views from your private balcony with a glass of bubbly and gourmet cheese platter.

Metro Hotel Perth is offering a ‘Girls Night In’ package priced from $159 per room per night and valid for stays until January 25.

The package includes accommodation in a river-view room, a bottle of sparkling wine in room on arrival, complimentary cheese-and-antipasto platter delivered to room at 5pm, complimentary eye masks for each guest, complimentary buffet breakfast, and a 20 per cent discount off dinner at Red Bill Restaurant & Bar.

Trolls … visiting Dreamworld for 12 months.

Big kids rejoice! Let the little ones have some hair-raising fun at the new DreamWorks animation, Trolls Village, at Queensland’s Dreamworld.

Based on the 2016 Academy-Award-nominated movie, the village transports guests into the colourful world of the trolls and allows them to join their favourite characters at interactive live shows and in a one-of-a-kind beauty salon where kids can get “trolled up” to become one of the trolls themselves.

This world-first Trolls attraction will be at Dreamworld for 12 months only, and is open seven days a week.

Visit www.dreamworld.com.au.

Exotic South America … dancers in front of government palace in Lima.

Enjoy all the attractions and cultural wonders of Mexico and South America on this 20-night fly/stay/cruise package from Cruise1st, starting in Los Angeles and finishing in Santiago.

Departing Sydney on November 19 next year, guests will fly to Los Angeles for a night pre-cruise and a chance to explore LA and Hollywood.

Guests then embark on Celebrity Eclipse for a 16-night cruise, with stops in Mexico, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, before disembarking in San Antonio, Chile.

There are two nights post-cruise in Santiago before flying back to Australia.

Celebrity Eclipse is a state-of-the-art vessel with many recreation and entertainment options, including two theatres putting on specially prepared shows and large-scale productions.

Prices ex Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane start at $3499 per person twin-share.

Phone 1300 596 345 or visit www.cruise1st.com.au.

Danube luxury … a stateroom on board the Robert Burns.

A free onboard drinks package is featured on a new fly/stay/cruise package from Australia to Eastern Europe aboard the newest five-star ship from Riviera Travel.

Cruise Traveller is offering the 12-night ‘Danube Delights’ package, which showcases the imperial beauty of Budapest, the romance of the River Danube and the baroque palaces and medieval villages lining the iconic waterway.

There are departure dates between April and October next year and the package combines a five-night stay in Budapest with a seven-night Danube cruise aboard the 167-guest Robert Burns, which was launched in April this year.

Including return flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane or Perth, accommodation and sightseeing in Budapest, meals and shore excursions during the cruise, transfers in Hungary and onboard wi-fi, the 12-night ‘Danube Delights’ package is available from $5525 per person twin-share.

Cruise Traveller is offering a bonus onboard drinks package, including drinks with lunch and dinner, for bookings made by August 31.

Phone 1800 507 777 or visit www.cruisetraveller.com.au.

Dinner at the Oberoi … a great way to experience the Taj Mahal.

Abercrombie & Kent has joined forces with Oberoi Hotels & Resorts to offer savings up to $3850 per couple on an eight-day journey through India.

Travellers will experience the colour, history, culture and cuisine of Northern India with visits to vibrant bazaars and the most famous landmarks, from the Taj Mahal and Amber Fort to Delhi’s Jama Masjid and Udaipur’s City Palace.

All transport is in private air-conditioned vehicles, with expert A&K guides on hand to bring the journey to life, plus extras such as daily yoga sessions and butler service.

Prices start at $3995 per person twin-share and from $7680 for solo travellers.

Visit www.abercrombiekent.com.au.

Santorini … not so hidden these days, but still an integral cog in Peregrine’s ‘Hidden Gems of Greece’ cruise.

You’ll probably have to be on the next flight to Europe but there are some bargains to be had once there.

Peregrine Adventures, for instance, has cut 30 per cent off the August 1 departure for its eight-day ‘Hidden Gems of Greece’ cruise, which highlights beaches, villages and ancient archaeological sites.

Travellers experience the stylish island life of Mykonos, view the sunset under the magnificent temple of Poseidon, explore the ancient sites of Akrotiri and Delos’ and escape to the hills of Paros.

Pay from $3742 for the experience,

Visit www.peregrineadventures.com.

Sussi & Chuma … on a bend of the Zambezi River just 12 kilometres from Victoria Falls.

Sanctuary Retreats has raised the bar in Zambia with the unveiling of its refurbished Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma property at Victoria Falls, firmly positioning the boutique riverside retreat amongst the most exclusive luxury accommodation in the country.

Set on a bend of the Zambezi River in the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park just 12 kilometres from Victoria Falls, the lodge is named after Dr David Livingstone’s friends Sussi and Chuma.

The most extensive changes are evident in Sussi & Chuma’s communal areas, including the addition of a new Explorer Lounge and an expansive riverside outdoor bar.

Overlooking the Zambezi, the bar offers unrivalled views over this magnificent river, while the extended outdoor decking area includes a remodeled boma fire pit.

The lodge’s 12 treehouses, linked by elevated wooden walkways, have also been comprehensively remodeled.

Indulgent touches include freestanding baths, a fully stocked minibar and gym boxes for in-room workouts.

Visit www.sanctuaryretreats.com.

Seven Seas Voyager … all inclusive fares include unlimited beverages.

Following a review of travel advisories, Regent Seven Seas Cruises will be returning next year to Turkey — a country long popular with Australian travellers interested in rich culture, history, awe-inspiring architecture and exotic food.

The all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager will call at Turkish ports including Istanbul, Ephesus and Bozcaada.

Fares are all-inclusive and include free unlimited shore excursions, free unlimited wi-fi, unlimited beverages and pre-paid gratuities.

In Istanbul, guests can choose from an open-air evening city tour or hosted walking tours, taking in the 4000 stalls at the city’s bustling Grand Bazaar marketplace and lively Sultanahmet Square.

On the tiny island of Bozcaada, visitors can experience the slower side of local Aegean life, exploring vineyards, visiting local tavernas and taking in the atmospheric Greek quarter.

Phone 1300 455 200 or visit www.rssc.com.

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