Home' Destinations : Destinations 25Aug2011 Contents THE HERALD
TURTLE TRACK TO EUROPE
It might take about two weeks, but train travel
enthusiasts can travel from Sydney to London
almost exclusively by rail with very little air time.
Travel Associates and Infinity Rail have
mapped out an itinerary that uses some of the
world's great train journeys with just a single
short-haul flight from Darwin to Asia, less than
five hours among almost two weeks of train
The trip, with the combined train journeys
currently costing about $8300 per person, fea-
tures Australian trips on the Indian Pacific and
The Ghan, the Asian route formerly known as
the Reunification Express, Russia aboard the
Trans Mongolian and shorter trips in Europe
on the high-speed Thalys and Eurostar trains.
''A journey of this kind will not appeal to ev-
eryone, but it does offer an alternate route to
London for train enthusiasts or travellers who
aren't able to fly long-haul for medical or per-
sonal reasons,'' says Travel Associates general
manager David Lovelock.
Almost half the journey -- 147 hours --
would be spent on the Trans Mongolian from
Beijing to Moscow, via Ulaan Baatar.
The trip would be Sydney/Adelaide on the Indian Pacific,
Adelaide/Darwin on The Ghan, a flight Darwin/Saigon,
Saigon/Hanoi on SE service, Hanoi/Beijing on standard pas-
senger service, Beijing/Moscow on the Trans Mongolian,
Moscow/Amsterdam on a standard sleeper, Amsterdam/Brus-
sels on Thalys, and Brussels/London on Eurostar.
BEACH VALETS AT SURFERS
Hilton Surfers Paradise has launched Australia's first beach va-
let service, providing guests with the luxury beach experience
ahead of the hotel's official opening in September.
Guests can book their own valet to transport their beach
gear and belongings to and from the hotel to the beach.
The valets then set guests up on the sand with chairs, towels
and a beach umbrella, as well as bring them sunscreen, cold
drinks, ice creams and snacks throughout the day.
No longer just a concept for cashed up vacationers on the
glitzy beaches of Cannes and Miami, the valet is a user-pays
service available to all Hilton Surfers Paradise guests.
LEAVE THE GORILLA IN LUGGAGE
Falcons may be okay on flights but gorillas should be checked
in as luggage, Flight Centre discovered when it compiled a
list of some of the more unusual airline policies and services it
Flight Centre discovered many airlines throughout the
world allow pets to be carried as hand luggage, subject to
restrictions and additional fees.
Delta lists cats, dogs and household birds as acceptable
pets in the main cabins. But, according to Delta's website, pri-
mates including lemurs, monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees
are among the animals that will not be allowed, but may be
transported as checked baggage.
Leading UAE-based carrier Etihad allows falcons -- of the
winged variety -- in its cabins.
GOURMET TRAVELLER AWARDS
Hamilton Island fared well in the Australian Gourmet Traveller
magazine 2011 travel awards with Qualia scoring as the best
resort or lodge as well as the best spa, and Hamilton Island
itself winning for best travel experience.
Other award winners included Lake House, Victoria, as best
hotel or resort dining; Cradle Mountain Huts, Tasmania, best
adventure tourism; The Observatory, Sydney, best large luxury
hotel; Kooljaman at Cape Leveque, Western Australia, best
indigenous tourism experience; Singapore Airlines best airline
service; The Cullen, Melbourne, Victoria, best new boutique
accommodation; Orion Expedition Cruises best cruise line;
Gaia, NSW, best health retreat; Montalto vineyard and olive
grove, Victoria, best wine tourism experience; Saffire Freycinet,
Tasmania, best new hotel, resort or lodge; Abercrombie and
Kent best tour operator; Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef, Western Aus-
tralia, best sustainable tourism adventure; MONA, Tasmania,
standout Australian travel experience; and Istanbul as the hot-
test international city.
Sugarloaf Point Lighthouse Holiday Accommodation
3 historic lighthouse keepers' cottages @ Seal Rocks, NSW
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