An Ocean of Fun
The Pacific Ocean represents one big holiday for people worldwide, including the Gold Coast and the rest of Australia. At this time of year, there are bargains galore, some of which are outlined below.
Pacific Island nations represent good value and usually are a comfortable flying or cruising distance from our Australian east coast. Two or three hours flying will put you in touch with plenty of island attractions, including Fiji, Samoa, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Tonga and Australia's own dot in the Pacific, Norfolk Island.
Further afield and perhaps not as well trodden by short-term Australian visitors are Tahiti in French Polynesia, the Republic of Kiribati (Micronesia), the Solomon Islands (Melanesia), and Hawaii.
They all offer safety, island charm and plenty of intriguing history.
Paradise has put together a sample list of attractions that give an indication of some good value holidays available in the Pacific. It includes some of the best cruising and flying holidays.
3 OF THE BEST HOLIDAY SPECIALS!
TOP END - AUSTRALIA
From $359 per person
Includes 2 nights accommodation in Darwin
Save $475 per couple on a 17 Day
Creative Cruising has 10-nights cruising the Hawaiian Islands and to Kiribati on the four-star Norwegian Wind from $1969 per person twin share, including return airfare from Sydney to Honolulu. Travellers from Gold Coast Airport should add $235 for links to Sydney.
There are two sailings at this price, August 24 and November 16, with similar cruises on select dates to December 7 at varying seasonal prices.
Norwegian Wind visits Hilo on the Big Island, Hawaii, Fanning Island in Kiribati, Kauai, Maui, Kona on the Big Island, and entertainment are included in the price.
Details from travel agents or Creative Cruising on 1300 362 599.
COOK ISLANDS ROMANCE
Rarotonga's 240-room Manuia Beach Hotel and Air New Zealand have a seven-night Cook Islands special from $1867 per person twin share (inclusive of $218 taxes). The deal, including return economy airfares from Brisbane, daily tropical breakfast and daily morning and afternoon tea.
The hotel is a base for scuba diving, 4WD safaris, surfing, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing, horse riding and cultural tours. Visit: www.manuia.co.ck
You can cruise among the Hawaiian islands for seven nights from just $2098 per person twin share, including return airfare from Brisbane (via Sydney), all onboard meals and entertainment, port, air and other taxes, and onboard gratuities.
The four-star Pride of Aloha sails from Honolulu on August 21 and 28 at this low fly/cruise price. Ports of call include Nawiliwili, Kahului, Hilo and Kona.
Phone Talpacific Cruising on 1300 554 747 or go to www.tgalpacific.com
SUNNING IN SAMOA
Go to Samoa for six nights at the Coconuts Beach Club from as little as $1675 per person twin share from Brisbane.
And for just $65 each per day extra they'll include full breakfasts, lunches and three-course dinners daily, and even unlimited beer, house wine and soft drinks by the glass with lunch and dinner.
FIJI FOR HONEYMOONS
Five of Fiji's best-known resorts - Sonaisali, Musket Cove, Treasure Island, Tokoriki and Malolo Island Resort - have wedding, honeymoon and romance specials that are available on select dates.
Holiday prices start from $1465 per person twin share from Brisbane for seven nights at Sonaisali Island Resort. Full details from travel agents and Talpacific Holidays on 1300 137 727.
ISLANDS OF TAHITI
A seven-day cruise through the islands of Tahiti from Cruiseco is a virtual-reality holiday aboard a luxury motor yacht.
Bora Bora Cruises' ultra-deluxe Tia Moana and Tu Moana have just 37 spacious cabins for guests. Phone 1800 225 656 for Cruiseco.
Iririki Island Resort in Vanuatu has a seven-night deal from $1559 per person twin share from Brisbane, including return airfare, breakfasts daily, free lunch, tour, and an exclusive Iririki is only three minutes by private around-the-clock ferry from Port Vila township, and has 70 bungalows either with tropical garden or harbour views, or set directly over the water.
Iririki Island Resort, Vanuatu
Talpacific Holidays also has available a $99 per person Thrill Pass that includes a Vanuatu jet-boat ride, return airport transfers, and a Vila orientation tour.
Details from travel agents or Talpacific Holidays on 1300 137 727.
ACROSS THE TASMAN
A 14-night trans-Tasman cruise on the Diamond Princess in early 2006 costs from $3069 per person twin share. This includes air travel from Brisbane and two nights pre or post-cruising at the Copthorne Hotel Auckland Harbour City.
Also included are all onboard meals, entertainment, port charges, taxes and fuel surcharge; a New Zealand departure tax is additional.
Diamond Princess will sail Sydney to Auckland on February 25 and March 21, and Auckland to Sydney on March 9 and April 2, all four cruises will visit Melbourne, Hobart, cruise Fjordland National Park, and have days in Dunedin, Christchurch and Tauranga. See travel agents.
P&O has a program of 136 cruises from five departure port to the South Pacific, Asia and tropical north Queensland over the next year.
For a copy of P&O Cruises' new brochure, see a travel agent or call P&O Cruises on 132 469.