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ON THE GO*

with JOHN ROZENTALS

TRAVEL: 11 APRIL 2017

You’ve still got a few days to get to Canberra’s National Gallery of Australia to see Versailles: Treasures from the Palace, their current block-buster exhibition.

And please heed my advice. This is one not to be missed. It’s obviously neither as big nor as spectacular as the real thing on the outskirts of Paris but it’s certainly impressive and worth travelling to see.

Accor’s Canberra hotels are offering special deals until the exhibition closes on April 17, with rates starting from $109 per night at Canberra Ibis Styles and going up to $167 at Novotel Canberra.

The rates include a night’s accommodation, a glass of French bubbly, buffet breakfast for two, two tickets to the exhibition, a souvenir tote bag, complimentary audio package and a day’s membership to the gallery.

Visit www.accorhotels.com.

*****

The 25th annual Fairbridge Festival of inspired music will run from April 21-24 in the small Western Australian village five kilometres north of the Town of Pinjarra and an hour south of Perth.

It will again feature the music and camaraderie that regular patrons know and love — all packaged up together in a weekend escape that organisers say will feed your soul.

Included in the family-friendly event will be more than 100 local, national and international world, folk and roots acts performing across multiple stages.

The festival also incorporates youth and children’s festivals, along with artisan markets, a well-being zone, community stalls, workshops, comedy, dance and street theatre.

Visit fairbridgefestival.com.au.

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On Sunday May 7, the Leura Harvest Festival will again take over the town’s main street to showcase the outstanding produce and fine fare for which the NSW Blue Mountains are increasingly being recognised.

The festival will feature a mix of market stalls set among the cherry blossoms lining Leura Mall.

Highlights will include delicious local fare, regional wine and beer tastings, a comprehensive speakers program, the popular pet-chook show and scarecrow competition, the ultimate chocolate-cake competition and a jam-making competition for all age groups.

The overall message will be one of fresh, regional and sustainable.

Visit leuravillage.wildapricot.org.

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Picnic Island in Tasmania is thought to be the only place in the world where you can sleep within a penguin colony.

One of the few private freehold islands in Australia, the owner has recently constructed a fully copper-clad lodge to accommodate up to 10 people. The copper cladding has quickly taken on a beautiful patina to sit unobtrusively in this special environment.

Cantilevered over the high-water mark with views of the Hazards, on Tasmania’s East Coast, this unique building is a modern interpretation of the beachfront shacks for which the state is famous.

In addition to the penguin colony there is prolific wildlife on and around the island, including sea eagles, shearwaters, dolphins, seals and whales.

Phone 0411 255 179.

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The Australian Festival of Chamber Music will bring nine days of world-class music to Townsville from July 28 to August 5, with experienced Artistic Director Piers Lane AO once more at the helm.

A program of concerts, collaborations, conversations and masterclasses will be performed by the some of world’s best chamber musicians in churches, theatres, gardens and on Orpheus Island.

A line-up of 42 artists will perform at the event, including 13 from overseas, and three leading Australian ensembles in the Goldner String Quartet, Orava Quartet (Strings) and the Nexus Quartet (Saxophone). Four international artists will make their Australian debut at the 27th AFCM — Poul Høxbro (Flutes and Percussion) from Denmark, Italy’s Francesca Dego (Violin), Henk Neven (Baritone) from the Netherlands, and from the United Kingdom, Martin Owen (Horn).

Visit www.afcm.com.au.

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Aranui Cruises is offering discounted cruises in 2018, with savings of up to $900 on four select voyages.

The Tahitian adventure cruise line is providing a 10 per cent discount across all cabin categories on Aranui 5’s January 13, March 29 and June 12 departures, with seniors also able to take advantage of a 10 per cent discount on the October 2 voyage.

Discounted premium suites are priced from $7830 per person twin-share, a saving of $840, while a royal suite is available from $8557 per person twin-share on the discounted voyages, a saving of $920.

Visit www.aranui.com.

*****

Ecruising.travel has released exclusive rates on P&O’s recently refurbished Pacific Eden for a voyage around Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

The 15-night package is priced from $1859 per person twin-share and includes return domestic airfare to Cairns from Brisbane and Sydney, pre-cruise hotel accommodation in Cairns and 13-night cruise including all meals and transfers.

The round-trip cruise departs Cairns on October 24 and includes port visits to idyllic islands such as Alotau, Madang, Viti Islands and Rabaul in Papua New Guinea and Gizo Island and Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

The package with flights from Melbourne costs from $1949 and from Perth is from $2214 per person twin share.

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

*****

Book a Europe Holidays five-night ‘Ideal Classic’ tour of Italy online and save $400 per couple.

The tour costs from $1444 per person twin-share and explores the art and history of Florence, Padua, Venice and Milan.

Highlights include the mystic town of Saint Francis, and the early Renaissance masterpieces by Giotto and Cimabue within its Basilica, before a guided tour of Florence and two nights to discover the city’s charms.

Two nights in Venice ensue, with a ‘must’ tour by boat and a visit to Murano, famed for its glass, before the tour ends in Milan, with a visit to one of the world’s largest and most striking Gothic Cathedrals, the Splendid Duomo.

Phone 1800 242 373 or visit www.europeholidays.com.au.

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The annual International Dragon Boat Festival will be one of the highlights of a year packed with events in Macao.

With thousands of supporters converging on the shores of Nam Van Lake, the highly charged festival — to be held May 27-30 — attracts teams from around the globe, including Australia.

Other major events on the Macao calendar for 2017 include:

— The A-Ma Festival (April 19), in which locals pay homage to Macao’s most popular deity, the Goddess of Seafarers, from whom Macao is said to derive its name.

— The 29th Macao International Fireworks Display Contest (September to October) is acclaimed as one of the best of its kind, with the contest taking place on the shorefront of the Macau Tower each weekend.

— The Macao Food Festival (November 10-26) will be held with the 338-metre-high Macao Tower as a backdrop, and with 120 local restaurants merging with 26 invited food-and-beverage merchants.

— The parade through Macao’s Latin City (December 3) marks the anniversary of Macao’s handover to China and highlights Macao’s cultural features. Prepare for artists to present dazzlingly colourful performances, bringing the celebration to a vivid climax.

Visit www.macaotourism.gov.mo.

*****

Vietnam Airlines’ decision to begin direct flights between Sydney and Hanoi has resulted in Helen Wong’s Tours creating a discounted air-inclusive package to the Vietnamese capital.

As part of its 30th-anniversary celebrations, the Asia tour specialist has unveiled a four-night Hanoi package which includes return air fares from Sydney, four-star hotel accommodation, daily breakfasts, a guided half-day tour and tickets to the Water Puppet Show.

The ‘Discover Hanoi’ package is priced from $1150 per person twin-share, inclusive of taxes.

The company is also offering a two-day Hanoi-to-Halong Bay extension which includes a deluxe junk boat-like cruise of the breathtakingly beautiful bay and its array of limestone islands with Tonkin Cruises.

This package includes onboard overnight stay, meals and sightseeing, and is priced from $340 per person twin-share.

Phone (02) 9267 7833 or visit www.helenwongstours.com.

From Versailles: Treasures from the Palace … a tapestry in wool, silk and gold thread, showing an audience with Cardinal Chigi from the series Life of the King.

Western Australia’s Fairbridge Festival … music and camaraderie aplenty. Image: Ted Dana.

The Leura Harvest Festival takes over the town’s blossom-lined main street. Image: Ben Pearse.

Picnic Island … a fully copper-clad lodge can accommodate up to 10 people.

The Australian Festival of Chamber Music … nine days of world-class music in Townsville. Image: Andrew Rankin.

Aranui 5 … cruising in the Marquesas. Image James Morgan.

The Pacific Eden … 15-night package around Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Florence … discover the city’s charms during a two-night stay.

Entertainment at the end of Parade through Macao, Latin City.

Tonkin Cruises deluxe junk-style vessel in Halong Bay.