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ON THE GO*

with JOHN ROZENTALS

TRAVEL: 14 FEBRUARY 2017

Queensland has a 2017 full of the weird and wonderful, including the Chinchilla Melon Festival (www.melonfest.com.au) from 16-19 February, the Goomeri Pumpkin Festival, on the Sunshine Coast on 28 May (www.goomeripumpkinfestival.com.au) and the Mary Poppins Festival (www.marypoppinsfestival.com.au), at Maryborough from 23 June to 2 July.

The former will be packed with watermelon-fueled obstacle events and just about the only thing not on the menu is melon-choly.

Thousands will flock to the small town to participate in events such as melon skiing, melon bungy, melon ironman and a melon chariot race.

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Join Toursgallery's Best of Japan Tour in May to see springtime gardens in full bloom with azaleas, wisteria, iris and roses.

The itinerary includes the traditional Japanese landscape gardens of Suizenji, Kenrokuen, Kinkakuji and Ryoanji and the serene Moss Gardens and The Imperial Palace East Garden.

The tour features luxury hotels, ryokans with spa baths, banquet dinners, all breakfasts and a private coach for touring.

The 17-day escorted tour is priced at $10,550 and is limited to 15 guests.

Phone 1300 307 317 or visit www.toursgallery.com.

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A&K is offering an 18-day journey this June between Oslo and Reykjavik, including an eight-day cruise to Norway’s fjords on board Ponant’s Le Soléal.

The itinerary takes in World Heritage sites, charming towns and villages, dramatic cliff faces, thundering waterfalls and soaring mountain vistas.

Guests will spend a full week in Iceland, travelling from Reykjavik to the remote south shore and the volcanoes, geysers and waterfalls of the Golden Circle region. Highlights include midnight-sun cocktail celebrations, a super jeep adventure and an organic farm visit.

‘Norwegian Fjords Cruise & Iceland’ is priced from $21,995 per person twin-share, including return flights from Australia and a group size limited to 24.

Phone 1300 590 317 or visit www.abercrombiekent.com.au.

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Chimu Adventures has arranged an epic 24-day South American adventure including five classic trains trips, accommodation, breakfast, transfers, tours, some meals, an English-speaking guide, and domestic air fares.

The itinerary is priced from $11,880 per person twin-share and criss-crosses magnificent scenery through Equador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina, with the train journeys also offering local cuisine, artisan market stops, live music and an on-board runway show of alpaca-wool fashion.

The train journeys comprise The Train to the Clouds, which climbs to more than 4000 metres above sea to the Puna’s Polvorilla Viaduct; The Andean Explorer; Vistadome, with panoramic windows enabling spectacular views during the journey to Aguas Calientes, the jumping off point to see Macchu Picchu; Tren Crucero, pulled by antique steam locomotives on a four-day journey between Quito and Guayaquil; and Inca Rail, a modern newcomer on the popular Cusco to Ollanaytambo route.

Visit http://www.chimuadventures.com.

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Cruise1st is offering a 12-night fly-cruise-stay package from Singapore to Hong Kong this June, including an eight-night cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas.

Also included are a night of pre-cruise accommodation in Singapore, two nights post-cruise accommodation in Hong Kong and return flights from Australia.

Port stops include Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang.

Facilities on board the four-star Voyager of the Seas include a basketball court, ice-skating rink, mini-golf course, pools, spa, rock-climbing wall, casino, theatre and a bevy of restaurants, bars and cafes.


Prices start at $1999 per person twin- ex Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne ($2299 ex Canberra and $2199 ex Adelaide and Hobart).

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

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Sydney’s four-star Metro Aspire Hotel is offering a special launch rate to celebrate the completion of a full-scale multi-million dollar refurbishment that will complement its proximity to the ICC Sydney, the city’s new convention, exhibition and entertainment precinct.

The hotel is tucked away in a quiet, tree-lined street a block from the Powerhouse Museum, just outside the Sydney CBD, minutes from Central Station and a short walk to the new ICC in Darling Harbour.

All rooms have new king-zip beds, new furniture, flooring and bathrooms, as well as smart TVs, new VoIP digital telephone connections and high-speed internet.  The hotel has its own secure underground carpark.

To celebrate the launch of the newly refurbished hotel, Metro Aspire Hotel Sydney is offering a package deal from $119 per night for two people in a Premium room, with buffet breakfast for two and a late checkout at noon.

The offer is valid for travel until 15 March.

Visit www.metrohotels.com.au.

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SeaLink’s three-day, two-night American River self-drive package to Kangaroo Island will run until 28 February, with prices for the package starting at $365.50 per adult.

The package includes return SeaLink coach and ferry travel to Penneshaw, two nights accommodation at Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge in a king bayview room with buffet breakfast daily; three days hire car or self-drive option, pre-dinner wine tastings of five Kangaroo Island wines; a $50 dinner voucher to use at the Mercure’s Reflections Restaurant, a self-guided nocturnal walk, free honey ice-cream from Clifford’s Honey Farm, entry to Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery, and pelican feeding.

The deal is valid for bookings and travel until 28 February, excluding Kangaroo Island Cup dates of 16-18 February.

Phone 131 301 or visit www.sealink.com.au.

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Visitors to Uluru this year will have eight major events to partake in at Ayers Rock Resort, ranging from Indigenous cultural activities and immersive art installations to quintessentially Australian outback activities, spiritual health and stargazing.

Among them is the monumental art phenomenon of Bruce Munro’s Field of Light, which has been extended until March 2018, and the Tjungu Indigenous Cultural Festival from 22-25 April.

Tjungu means ‘meeting together’ in the local Anangu language and this year’s event will see returning artists and ambassadors joined by emerging and established Indigenous performers, sporting heroes and artists. Highlights include an Anangu welcome to country, lively markets showcasing Indigenous art and bush tucker, a short-film festival, Indigenous fashion parade, traditional and contemporary Indigenous musicians and bands, and the ‘Tastes of Tjungu’, an outdoor desert dining experience hosted by a celebrity chef.

Phone 1300 134 044 or visit https://www.ayersrockresort.com.au.

The Chinchilla Melon Festival … loads of sweet fun.

A delight for garden lovers … springtime in Japan.

Cruising Norway’s Geirangerfjord with Ponant.

Tren Crucero … pulled by antique steam locomotives on a four-day journey between Quito and Guayaquil.

Voyager of the Seas … eight nights from Singapore to Hong Kong.

Sydney’s Metro Aspire Hotel … special rates to coincide with refurbishment.

Plenty of wildlife … Kangaroo Island lives up to its name.

Tjungu … ‘meeting together’ of local Indigenous people and visitors.