Frozen north

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - SPRING CRUISE -

Down Un­der it’s spring, but far to the north there’s a land where the chill lingers all year round.

If you’re not quite ready to leave be­hind the grip of win­ter, head for the land of the North­ern Lights.

Ben­tours (ben­, 1800 221 712) has a 12-day Fol­low the Lights tour start­ing in Helsinki, Fin­land, and head­ing north. You’ll travel by bus and rail and for six nights you’ll be based on a Hur­tigruten fast ferry in an out­side cabin.

Kick­ing off with a train jour­ney to Ro­vaniemi, the cap­i­tal of Fin­nish La­p­land and Santa’s stomp­ing ground, you board your ship at Kirkenes and sail to Ham­mer­fest, the most northerly town in the world.

You’ll cross the Arc­tic Cir­cle and have a chance to visit the mar­itime mu­seum at Rorvik.

The tour in­cludes some meals, and de­parts Helsinki or Ber­gen daily un­til De­cem­ber 19. Book by Wed­nes­day and pay $2377 a per­son, twin share, not in­clud­ing flights.

7 Hug the coast­line

P&O’s re­cently made-over Pa­cific Sun is sailing from Perth to Syd­ney this spring on a nine-night cruise.

You’ll leave from his­toric Fre­man­tle and the first stop is Bun­bury, from where you can strike out for the winer­ies of the Mar­garet River or just laze on the pris­tine beach. It’s spring Down Un­der but on the coasts of New Eng­land, in the east­ern US, it’s crisp au­tumn and the fo­liage bursts with scin­til­lat­ing colours.

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