{ GREAT ES­CAPES }

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - MERRY KIRK­WOOD

Flower power: Book now to en­joy Europe’s colour­ful spring dis­plays. In­sight Va­ca­tions’s 17-day Flo­ri­ade 2012, Chelsea Flower Show & Spring­time in the Alps Tour de­parts Lon­don on May 24; from $5569 a per­son twin-share, land only, in­clud­ing tick­ets to Eng­land’s fa­mous flower show, Flo­ri­ade 2012 in Venlo, The Nether­lands, 16 nights’ ac­com­mo­da­tion, pro­fes­sional tour di­rec­tor and coach trans­port, air­port trans­fers and many meals. More: in­sight­va­ca­tions.com.au. Cup capers: En­joy the thrill of this year’s Mel­bourne Cup with a two-night pack­age in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion at the All Sea­sons Kingsgate Ho­tel, ad­mis­sion to Flem­ing­ton Race­course and the Banks Precinct, re­turn air­port trans­fers and re­turn train/tram tick­ets to Flem­ing­ton Race­course; from $432 a per­son twin-share for travel Oc­to­ber 31 to Novem­ber 2. Derby Day and Oaks Day deals avail­able. More: 1300 551 669; need­toescape.com.au/deals. Fabulous Fiji: Stay three nights at Son­aisali Is­land Re­sort, Fiji, and en­joy the last night free; from $147 a room a night for travel be­fore March 31, 2012. The is­land re­sort close to Viti Levu abounds in ad­ven­ture sports, in­clud­ing horserid­ing, jet ski­ing, sports­fish­ing, div­ing, boat trips, snorkelling and wind­surf­ing. More: 133 810; ex­pe­dia.com.au. On your bike: Join the 2012 RACV Great Vic­to­rian Bike Ride from Swan Hill to Castle­maine from Satur­day, Novem­ber 26, to Sunday, De­cem­ber 4. Choose from the 590km nine-day event or sin­gle-day rides, de­pend­ing on ex­pe­ri­ence. The ride is a fully catered, tent-based hol­i­day with lug­gage trans­port, a li­censed cafe un­der can­vas, full med­i­cal team and bi­cy­cle re­pair fa­cil­i­ties; $935 for adults and $699 for chil­dren un­der 18 for en­tries be­fore Novem­ber 2. More: 1800 616 600; greatvic.com.au. Cra­dle of cul­ture: Sam­ple the best of Iran’s mon­u­ments and his­tory on a 17-night small-group Odyssey tour de­part­ing Syd­ney, Mel­bourne, Bris­bane and Perth on Novem­ber 5; pack­age from $7650 a per­son twin-share, in­clud­ing in­ter­na­tional re­turn econ­omy-class air­fares, ac­com­mo­da­tion, break­fast daily, some lunches and din­ners, sight­see­ing, lec­tures, insurance, and lo­cal guides. Visit Tehran, Shi­raz and Ma­souleh, World Her­itage sites and the an­cient vil­lage of Abyaneh. More: 1300 888 225; odyssey­travel.com.au. South­ern com­forts: Stay three nights at the Kan­ga­roo Is­land Seafront Re­sort be­fore March 31, 2012; pack­age from $540 a room twin-share in­clud­ing a noc­tur­nal pen­guin tour. More: 138 833; sunlover­hol­i­days.com.au/deals.

Gor­geous blooms at the Chelsea Flower Show in Lon­don

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