Making an entrance
Famed for its dramatic treetop arrival via a suspension bridge, the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan is now offering guests a 180-degree change of perspective, with hotel arrival by river raft. Submerged in a river valley close to the artistic centre of Ubud, the resort has launched the innovative rafting check-in as an option for guests transferring from sister resort, the beach-front Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay on Bali's south-west coast. Instead of the usual 90-minute road transfer, travellers combining a stay at both resorts can instead be taken by private car (60-minute drive) to the departure point for a two-hour rafting adventure down Bali's longest river, the Ayung. Visit www.fourseasons.com.
Farm to Fork on the Sunshine Coast
A new food tour has been launched in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, inviting foodies behind the scenes to discover why the region is fast becoming one of Australia's premier taste destinations. The 'Farm to Fork' experience is a joint initiative between Sunshine Coast craft beer expert and avid foodie Josh Donohoe, of Creative Tours and Events, and Maleny's Brouhaha Brewery, and tells the story of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland's community, its collaboration and, most of all, its fresh produce. The single-day tour will stop at Sunshine Coast Coffee Roastery for a bean-to-cup experience, The Falls Farm in Mapleton, and Maleny Wagyu. It will finish at Maleny's Brouhaha Brewery for a four-course degustation showcasing local produce featured in the tour, paired with four of Brouhaha's craft beers. Guests will be joined at lunch by Brouhaha's head chef and head brewer, who will share the local stories behind the food and beer they create. Visit creativetours.com.au.
Visit Vivid in Sydney
More than two million visitors will converge on Sydney to enjoy Vivid Sydney from May 24-June 15, the world's largest event combining light, music and ideas. For a full event listing, visit www.vividsydney.com. Metro Hotels & Apartments is offering a range of packages for the duration of Vivid Sydney, starting from $160 per night. An example is the family package, at that price, at the Metro Hotel Marlow Sydney Central. The package includes one night in a room with two double beds, a Vivid gift bag on arrival containing a bottle of sparkling wine, chocolates and various glow items. Complimentary wi-fi and kid's activity pack also included. A website exclusive - a free drink voucher at Palace Hotel Sydney - is also available. Visit www.metrohotels.com.au.
On track for gourmet
A four-day heritage train journey to the NSW Riverina this October will allow food and wine lovers to meet the farmers, winemakers, chefs, gardeners, artisans and producers that make this region one of Australia's leading culinary destinations. Created and hosted by Cruise Express, the 'Taste Riverina Food and Wine Adventure' aims to showcase the Riverina's fine wines and abundant produce and also the joys of slow travel aboard a privately chartered heritage train. The unique getaway begins in Sydney with the heritage rail motor 621/721 taking guests on a leisurely and nostalgic journey to Griffith, with lunch in Junee and afternoon tea in Narrandera along the way. The rail motor, built in 1962, features windows that open, allowing passengers to freely connect with the changing scenery, including vast expanses of bright yellow canola fields in bloom. During the trip, guests can also visit the driver's cab to see how the train operates. After checking into three-nights' accommodation in Griffith, guests will enjoy a two-day celebration of the Riverina's passion for food and wine, underscored by the waves of Italian migrants to the area over the decades. The final day of the tour will see guests rejoin the heritage train for the day trip back to Sydney, with a stop at Temora to visit Koorambi Winez, for a barbecue in the vineyard, hosted by local growers, Mimosa Valley Lamb. A dinner stop will also be made in Goulburn before the gourmet tour ends mid-evening back in Sydney. Including eight meals and daily sightseeing, the four-day 'Taste Riverina Food and Wine Adventure' is available from $1990 per person twin-share. Phone 1300 766 537 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au.
See iguanas on Galapagos
World Expeditions is offering an opportunity to experience Galapagos wildlife with naturalist expert Jaime Dominguez on Solaris, a new 16-passenger first-class yacht. Jaime is widely regarded as one of the best Galapagos guides, holding the highest certification possible for a naturalist guide in the Galapagos and having worked as a volunteer guide for the Galapagos National Park. The cruise has been timed to coincide with the start of the marine iguana mating season on Espanola Island, a colourful time when the marine iguanas change colours, displaying bright reds and greens in an attempt to attract mates. All 11 cabins on Solaris are air-conditioned, with private facilities and ocean views. Five cabins provide single beds, with no single supplement surcharge required for solo travellers. Phone 1300 720 000 or visit www.worldexpeditions.com.
Save on river cruises
Book a European river cruises from Evergreen Cruises & Tours by May 18 and save up to $4900 per couple, whether your preference is the Rhine and Danube, the flavours of France, a taste of Portugal - or even a combination. Book a 15-day Porto-to-Nice river cruise for next year, for instance, priced from $7685 per person, and save up to $2300 per head. Discover three rivers on this adventure, starting with the Douro River in Portugal, and then the Seine and Rhone rivers in France, with an internal flight included. Guests will receive complimentary wi-fi, and free wine, beer and soft drinks with meals. Phone 1300 383 747 or visit www.evergreentours.com.au.