GREAT AUS­TRALIAN ES­CAPES

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Destination Australia -

RIGHT ROYAL TREATS: The Royal Mail Ho­tel at Dunkeld in Vic­to­ria’s south­ern Grampians is lur­ing food­ies with a mid­week $465 pack­age for cou­ples (un­til Au­gust 31) that in­cludes a five-course din­ner in its award-win­ning restau­rant, ac­com­mo­da­tion and an a la carte break­fast. More: royal­mail.com.au.

FIT­TING TRIB­UTES: The Mu­seum of Aus­tralian Democ­racy at Eureka, Vic­to­ria, on the his­toric site of the Eureka Stock­ade, is one of Australia’s new­est col­lec­tions. Key dis­play items in­clude the Eureka Flag, on loan and ex­hib­ited for the first time since 1854 at the lo­ca­tion where it was raised. At the ca­sual on-site restau­rant, Salt­bush Kitchen, over­look­ing Eureka Park Me­mo­rial Gar­dens, chef Brigid Cor­co­ran spe­cialises in dishes fea­tur­ing in­dige­nous in­gre­di­ents such as bush toma­toes, macadamia nut but­ter, wat­tle-seed sugar and pep­per­berry salt. More: made.org.

INTO THE DEEP: Whale sharks have been sighted re­cently off the West Aus­tralian mid-north coast near Ex­mouth, herald­ing the start of the closeen­counter swim sea­son with th­ese so-called gen­tle gi­ants of the sea from March to Au­gust. More than 19,300 tourists vis­ited World Her­itage-listed Nin­ga­loo Reef last year, with sight­ings of whale sharks on tours by 14 ap­proved op­er­a­tors reach­ing a record 92 per cent suc­cess rate. More: aus­tralias­co­ral­coast.com; whale­shark.org.

COM­PLI­MEN­TARY CRUISE: Valid to May 31, the North­ern Ter­ri­tory’s Ci­cada Lodge at Kather­ine has a new two-night Ex­plorer pack­age fea­tur­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion, break­fasts, evening drinks and a bonus Nit­miluk Gorge cruise for $990 (twin­share). More: 1800 242 232; ci­cadalodge.com.au.

ROCKS OF AGES: The Wombeyan Caves Fes­ti­val, pre­sented by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice, will take place from March 13-15, with spe­cial cave tours, camp­ing packages and a free con­cert. The Wombeyan Caves are in the NSW south­ern high­lands and the event forms part of Parks Week, an an­nual cel­e­bra­tion that high­lights the role na­tional parks play in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties. More: na­tion­al­parks.nsw.gov.au/park­sweek.

SU­SAN KURO­SAWA

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