Travel Deals: Australia, Italy, Bali

Travel deals: EXPERIENCE Italy at its most magical with the new An Italian Winter Indulgence tour from Back-Roads Touring. The 8-day small group journey travels through Rome, Florence and Venice and visits traditional Christmas markets with elaborate nativity scenes and delicious seasonal treats like ‘torrone’ from $A2635 per person twin share.

The itinerary explores Rome’s ancient wonders including the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain before moving through Orvieto, Montepulciano and Montalcino in the picturesque Tuscan countryside.It continues to Florence and finishes in Venice where highlights include a vaporetto ride, a ‘Secret Itineraries’ tour of Doge’s Palace and a visit to the historic glass-making town of Murano.

Accommodation with European breakfast daily, one wine tasting, four dinners, driver/guide, mini coach transport and entrance to itinerary sites are included. The tour operates between December and March 2013. The January 27 departure takes in Venice Carnival, one of the world’s oldest and most famous festivals.

Contact Back-Roads on 1300 100 410, or visit your local travel agent.


THE stylish 201-room Mercure hotel has opened in the green precinct of Nusa Dua Bali, and is offering some great opening rates for travelers who continue to flock to the holiday island. Australians continue to top the arrivals charts, and Nusa Dua is a favoured destination for couples and families seeking a quieter side to life. The newly-built Mercure Bali Nusa Dua opened on September 23, just a stone’s throw from the prominent Bali Tourism Development (BTDC) complex, and the hotel is ideally located for access to the Bali International Convention Centre and the many shopping, dining and entertainment options of the Bali Collection Shopping Mall.

Located a mere 14km from Bali’s International Ngurah Rai Airport and 25 minutes from the chic and lively areas of Seminyak and Kuta and Legian, the hotel is ideal for business and leisure travellers alike. To celebrate its opening, Mercure Bali Nusa Dua is offering a special launch promotion with room rates starting from IDR 690,000++ per room per night (approximately $A85 including taxes) valid for booking and travel up until December 20, 2012.

ONE of Australia’s best boutique properties and a much loved hideaway in Queensland’s tropical north village of Palm Cove, Reef House Boutique Resort & Spa is offering a great value Summer Special where guests stay seven nights, yet pay for only five.

Valid for travel October 1, 2012 – 31 March 2013 and priced inclusively at just $A1295.00 per couple, the Summer Special package includes: Seven nights “colonial beach house” accommodation in a Brigadier Room, tropical continental breakfast daily on the Reef House Ocean View Deck, 20% off lunch and dinner in the ocean view Reef House Restaurant or poolside dining, complimentary “Brigadier’s Punch” in the Brigadier’s Lounge daily at twilight, free wi-fi, use of DVD player and DVD library.

An easy 20 minute drive from Cairns Airport, guests can enjoy the gorgeous warm weather by simply lazing by one of the the pools (where there is always a quiet nook to be found), or perhaps exploring the reef, rainforest, and tablelands that are on the doorstep of this tropical paradise. To book phone Reef House Boutique Resort & Spa on +61 7 4080 2600 or visit

Reef House  has launched a new degustation menu, now available nightly to diners at the resort’s award-winning, signature beachfront restaurant. Head Chef Ashe Lewis’ new seven course set menu combines modern Australian cuisine with the very best of North Queensland’s local produce, showcasing the reef’s fresh seafood, as well as local tropical fruits and other regional favourites.
The Reef House Restaurant’s new degustation menu kicks-off with an “ever-changing starter” or Amuse-Bouche, to ready the palate and set the scene for the sublime range of flavours and taste sensations to follow.
Currently on the menu, dishes such as Seared Scallops & Twice Cooked Pork Belly with Mareeba Gold Pineapple Chilli Jam, are followed by chef favourites such as North Queensland Tiger Prawn Risotto with Saffron, Braised Leek, & Fresh Basil.
Other dishes include a Garlic Roasted Quail with Baby Carrot Puree, Aged Balsamic Reduction, Crisp Rocket as well as a Prosciutto Wrapped Black Angus Eye Fillet with Black Truffle Mash, Wilted Spinach, and Port Wine Jus.
A Far North Queensland dessert favourite finishes the locally-inspired culinary experience,  Vanilla Bean Brulee with Caramelised Cane Sugar. And as an option for diners wanting to partake in a complete food and wine sensation, an appropriate wine is sublimely matched to each of the courses. Overlooking the palm-finged esplanade of Palm Cove and its white sandy beach, The Reef House Restaurant, with its unsurpassed views and cool ocean breeze, provides a stunning match for Ashe Lewis’ new degustation experience. The menu is priced at $A89.00 per person, or with matched beverages, $A139 per person.




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