Luxury Sand Dune Safari in WA and our best travel deals

Accommodation at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, near Exmouth WA. Photo / Provided

VIP CRUISE IN ANTARCTICA

Join the Right Honorable Sir John Key and historic polar adventurer Mike Stroud OBE for an exclusive 13-day trip to Antarctica. From 3,000-foot ice cliffs to penguin colonies, Viva Expeditions’ VIP Antarctic Cruise includes all the highlights of the greatest destination of them all. With capacity for just 194 guests and the ability to travel with the record holder for the first unassisted crossing of Antarctica on foot and a former Prime Minister, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a lucky few. Land and cruise package from $17,995 per person in triple action.

Contact: Viva Expeditions, [email protected], 0800 131 900 or vivaexpeditions.com/nzherald

MARLBOROUGH CELLAR DOOR TOUR

Be transported from one cellar door to the next as you sit back, relax, and enjoy the views—and wine tastings—on a Taste of Marlborough half-day tour. One night at Chateau Marlborough in a superior studio is included. Starting at $404 for two people, four cellar doors are on the program for the day-tasting and you can choose to have lunch at one of them (price of lunch not included).

Contact: book.bookit.co.nz/agent/destination-marlborough/7764970/packages/taste-of-marlborough-package/1932#/packages/1932

TE PUIA, THERMAL WONDERLAND

Te Puia, Rotorua.  Photo / Provided
Te Puia, Rotorua. Photo / Provided

The spectacular geysers, bubbling mud and beautiful native bush of Rotorua’s Te Puia geothermal wonderland have been hidden from sight at night – until now.

For the first time, visitors can take a 3 km, 90-minute guided night trail through the geothermal valley. You will hear historical stories and feel the beauty of Pōhutu. Te Puia opens for these night visits from 7pm to 9pm Thursday to Sunday. Normally priced at $70 for an adult and $35 for a child, these rates are reduced by 30% until September 26. Family admission (two adults and three children) is usually $189.

Contact: Te Puia, (07) 348 9047 or email [email protected] or book online using promo code ‘NZ30’ at tepuia.com/te-puia-experiences/geyser-by-night/

SAFARI IN THE SAND DUNES IN WA

Accommodation at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, near Exmouth WA.  Photo / Provided
Accommodation at Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, near Exmouth WA. Photo / Provided

A six-night, seven-day trip to Western Australia starts in style with a stay at the InterContinental Perth City Centre. You will then fly to Leeuwin Estate Winery in the southwest Margaret River wine region for lunch and wine tastings.

The itinerary includes three nights in Sal Salis – an eco-luxury safari camp nestled in the sand dunes, a day on the water in the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Marine Park, where you can swim with the enormous (harmless) whale shark.

There are educational lectures on board by marine biologists, and you’ll be entertained by dolphins and possibly a surfacing dugong. Priced at $6469 per person, sharing doubles, the package is discounted by approximately $360 per person. Flights from New Zealand to Perth are additional. Book before August 30. Travel between March 4 and March 27.

Contact: House of Travel, freephone 0800 713 715 or see houseoftravel.co.nz/hot-deals/deals/ast-tnq-western-australia-indulgence

CANTERBURY IN BLOOM

Flaxmere with Pukekohe Travel.  Photo / Provided
Flaxmere with Pukekohe Travel. Photo / Provided

Gardening enthusiasts will love the Hanmer Fete and Hurunui Garden Festival, which take place over five days in late October. Priced at $2,416 per person, sharing, the tour begins with a mid-morning flight from Auckland to Christchurch on October 26.

The tour includes quality and original shopping, visits to 10 gardens in the Hurunui district, and a soothing bath in the Hanmer hot spring pools. There will also be a dinner party with famed gardener, host and author, Lynda Hallinan.

Contact: Pukekohe Travel, freephone 0800 785 386 or email [email protected] or
see pukekohetravel.co.nz/escorted-tours/all-tours/hanmer-fete-and-hurunui-garden-festival.html

CROSS THAILAND WITH QANTAS

Rairay Beach, Krabi Thailand.  Photo / Provided
Rairay Beach, Krabi Thailand. Photo / Provided

Book Qantas return flights to Phuket, via Sydney, for seven nights at the four-star Phuket Graceland Resort and Spa in a luxury room – from $2019 pps, double, from Auckland. Travel from Wellington starts at $2189 per person, sharing a double room, and from $2209 if traveling from Christchurch.

Daily breakfasts, welcome drinks on arrival and local transfers are included. Book before August 22. Travel between February 1 and March 23.

Contact: Flight Centre, freephone 0800 427 555 or see flightcentre.co.nz/phuketfromakl or www.flightcentre.co.nz/phuketfromwlg or flightcentre.co.nz/phuketfromchc

About Michael Brafford

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