LIT­TLE BLACK BOOK

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

SCOT­TISH-born Nikki Maxwell has lived in France, Spain, Switzer­land and Cal­i­for­nia, and now calls Mel­bourne home. In 2007 she set up Pic­nics in Provence, spe­cial­is­ing in small­group gourmet tours. More: pic­nic­sin­provence.com. Des­per­ate to get back to: Cas­sis in west­ern Provence; it’s a charm­ing vil­lage with bob­bing boats on its har­bour and lovely bistros. Top shop­ping se­cret: Prece­dence, 421 Hamp­ton St, Hamp­ton; there’s al­ways some­thing dif­fer­ent in this Mel­bourne life­style shop. Must visit: LAN Club, Twin Tow­ers, Bei­jing. A Philippe DEALS OF THE WEEK Sim­ply South Africa: Book a seven-day hol­i­day tour­ing South Africa for just over $100 a day dur­ing June, July and Au­gust; from $740 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion, break­fasts, air­port trans­fers, trans­port and sight­see­ing. Tour Cape Town, Franschhoek, Paarl and Stel­len­bosch. More: 1300 195 873; bench­in­ter­na­tional.com.au. Starck-de­signed restau­rant with Sichuan-style menu and fab­u­lous decor. Per­fect place for in­dul­gence: An ocean suite room in the Sum­mer Houses of the Dar Al Masyaf Ho­tel, Dubai. Cruise Croa­tia: A Dubrovnik seven-night round-trip on board the 19-cabin five-star Mag­el­lan costs from $1172 a per­son, in­clud­ing meals on board. The itin­er­ary in­cludes vis­its to se­cluded coves and medieval towns such as Hvar, Split, Kor­cu­lar and Dubrovnik. Next de­par­ture is June 25. More: 1300 362 599; cre­ative­cruis­ing.com.au. Stand-out bar ex­pe­ri­ence: Soggy Dol­lar Bar, White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, Vir­gin Is­lands. Swim to the beach from your yacht and pay with wet money. Invit­ing food des­ti­na­tion: Will Meyrick’s Sarong Restau­rant at Seminyak in Bali. In­spi­ra­tional travel nar­ra­tive: The Olive Farm: A Mem­oir of Life, Love and Olive Oil in the South of France by Carol Drinkwa­ter. Most mem­o­rable splurge: A long lunch at Alain Du­casse’s three-star Miche­lin restau­rant Le Louis XV at Ho­tel de Paris, Monaco. Best ex­pe­ri­ence afloat: A bare­boat yacht charter around the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands in the Caribbean. Fun in the sun: Es­cape win­ter chills on Queens­land’s Sun­shine Coast at Grand Mer­cure Apart­ments Twin Waters near Coolum; there are spe­cial deals for se­niors, longstay pack­ages and choice of self-con­tained units or fam­ily­sized beach-houses. More: grand­mer­curea­part­ments .com.au.

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