LITTLE BLACK BOOK
RUSSELL Westmoreland is commercial director at Australia’s Great Southern Rail, which operates The Ghan, The Overland, The Southern Spirit and Indian Pacific. More: greatsouthernrail.com.au. Favourite shopping haunt: The Berkelouw Eumundi Bookshop & Cafe on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Stand-out bar experience: Sitting in a cafe or enjoying a glass of wine at one of the world’s great architectural railway stations. I recommend Grand Central station in New York and Gare de Lyon in Paris. Inviting culinary destination: Buddakan in New York is a DEALS OF THE WEEK Testing the water: Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises have a one-night ‘‘sampler’’ cruise aboard Voyager of the Seas (November 23) or Celebrity Solstice (December 9); from $345 a person twin-share. Guests board for a Sydney Harbour evening departure, returning the next morning. More: 1800 754 500. stunning restaurant with a great bar and Asian food. The high ceilings and chandeliers complete the experience. Best-spent holiday dollars: An electronic travel scale wards off feelings of dread. Best action experience: Hire a canoe at Katherine Gorge in the Camping and canyons: Peregrine has 10 per cent off all 2012 North America tours booked before June 30, including a 10-day National Parks Walk itinerary through Utah and Arizona; from $1673 a person for the Navajo-guided camping trail (July and September) exploring the Grand Canyon. More: peregrineadventures.com. Northern Territory (in season; on The Ghan’s route) and paddle through the ancient sandstone canyons. Distinctive hotel: The Desert Cave Inn, Coober Pedy (also along the Ghan’s route), has underground rooms. Favourite travel site: Homeaway.com for apartments in New York. It features photos, local facilities and comments. Best rail inspiration: The movie Hugo, set in 1930s Paris, tells the story of a boy living in a railway station, with some scenes filmed at Gare de Lyon. Top tip for rail travel: Pack light, as if you were travelling by plane. Trains are compact when it comes to storage. Island escape: Capella Lodge has a fly free to Lord Howe Island discount package. Stay seven nights at the luxury lodge and receive one bonus night; from $3900 a person twin-share including return flights with Qantaslink to Lord Howe Island, ex Sydney or Brisbane. Valid July 28 to September 30. More: lordhowe.com.