SIGNAL MOMENTS IN HISTORY
THERE’S a rare chance to climb to the top of Victoria’s 1848 Cape Otway lighthouse this weekend (and perhaps spot a passing whale into the bargain). These days it’s unmanned, but the doors are being flung open for two days of fun as part of International Lighthouse Weekend.
Music, food, tours, maritime tales, an art exhibition, children’s activities and Koori Dreaming talks are promised, and former keepers will talk about their experiences. Flute player Howlin Wind performs today, and singer-songwriter James Butt and Geoff D’Ombrain, former head of music at Victorian College of the Arts who specialises in maritime stories and songs, perform throughout the weekend. There’s also a murdermystery dinner and the restored 1859 telegraph station will open to tap out messages (in morse code, of course) to visitors’ families and friends anywhere in the world. More: (03) 5237 9240; www.lightstation. com.
Go bush: Sunday, September 9 is the day to step out into the outdoors and join the fifth Great Australian Bushwalk. Choose from more than 120 guided walks across the country, from Darwin’s tropical falls to the Tasmanian wilderness. ‘‘ You don’t have to climb Mt Everest to discover the benefits of bushwalking,’’ says mountaineer Tim Macartney-Snape, the event’s ambassador. ‘‘ There are no heavy packs to carry, no expensive footwear or clothing required, and it’s the best way to discover our spectacular natural environment.’’ Each walk, with 15 to 30 people, will be guided by an experienced local leader and will average three to four hours. There’s no charge but walkers must register in advance. More: www.greataustralianbushwalk.org.au.
Brush with art: Visitors to Queensland’s Hamilton Island can unlock their inner Picasso this month following the introduction of classes with resident artist Greg Wardle. Lessons, for adults and children, are suited to abilities. Bookings are advisable. More: email@example.com; www.hamiltonisland.com.au.
Birthday delivery: In a competition with a difference, Paradise Resort at Queensland’s Surfers Paradise is celebrating its second birthday by giving away two-night stays to mothers giving birth in Australia on October 1. To enter, register on the resort’s website before November 29. The giveaway is for two adults and two children aged up to 12. Proof of the baby’s birth is required. More: www.paradiseresort.com.au.
Cruise and rail: Ecruising.travel has combined an 18-night Sydney to Fremantle cruise on the Sun Princess with a night in Perth and a three-night return to Sydney on the Indian Pacific railway. There is a range of price options for the April package, including pensioner concessions. Sun Princess will depart Sydney on April 18 for Brisbane, Townsville, Magnetic Island, Cairns, Cooktown and Darwin. From $4299 a person ($3899 for pensioners). More: 1300 369 848; www.ecruising.travel.
Ski-do: Spring skiing is looking a good bet with resorts enjoying their best season for quite a few years. NSW’s Perisher Blue is holding its spring carnival from September 9 to 23 with musicians performing at Front Valley. There are children’s activities, art exhibitions, fireworks and more. The resort’s five-day spring carnival mountain pass is reduced to $299 (adult), $172 (child) when booked in conjunction with any five-day accommodation package. Valid from September 9 to the end of the season. More: 1300 655 811; www.perisherblue.com.au.
Spring fling: NSW neighbour Thredbo, celebrating its 50th year, has two-night specials from $356 a person twin share at selected lodges. The deals, starting September 2, include lift passes and breakfasts. More: 1300 020 589; www.thredbo.com.au.
Broome, Broome: Stay five nights but pay for only four at the just-upgraded Cable Beach Resort in Broome, Western Australia. From $524 a person with buffet breakfasts and airport transfers. There’s also a kids stayand-eat-free offer. More: www.cablebeachclub.com.
Game for a dash? Mercure Hotel Sydney Airport is claiming a first with its new online game in which travellers who reach the hotel from the airport win a prize. There are more than $7000 worth of prizes, including a pamper package at the Sofitel Wentworth Sydney, staying in a superior room, with dinner and breakfast for two, a bottle of wine on arrival and afternoon tea, all valued at more than $800. There are also instant prizes of drink or food vouchers or room upgrades. Every week for eight weeks the fastest player wins a romance accommodation package at the Mercure. The second fastest wins a dinner for two and the third fastest a $100 Accor GiftPlus card. More: www.mercuresydneyairport.com.au.
Full speed ahead: Queensland’s Gold Coast Indy promises four days and nights of high-octane V8 Supercar entertainment from October 18-21. Travelworld has four-night packages from $428 a person, including race pass. More: 131 435; www.travelworld.com.au.
Lure of the sun: Stay five nights, pay for four is the offer from Creative Holidays and Wentworth Hotels and Resorts. The deal is available at participating Wentworth properties at the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Port Douglas, Cairns and the Whitsundays. Prices for five nights range from $196 a person (Gold Coast) to $460 (Cairns). Available dates vary according to location. For sale until December 23. More: www.creativeholidays.com. Barry Oliver See our holiday deals, updated daily at www.theaustralian.com.au/travel
From left, Cape Otway lighthouse is opening its doors to the public; action at Perisher Blue; Broome’s Cable Beach