Six highlights in your travel week | 27 July

Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane … interiors that will transport guests back to the grandeur of the early 20th century.
Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane … interiors that will transport guests back to the grandeur of the early 20th century.

TFE Hotels has opened the doors of the new Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane, which offers views over the Brisbane River and interiors that will transport guests back to the grandeur of the early 20th century.

The city-centre hotel is housed in a restored heritage-listed building that was completed in 1922 to accommodate the Queensland Government Savings Bank.

It offers 220 rooms and suites, and includes an extra five levels designed to complement the historic building, with expansive views and balconies for many of the rooms.

The lobby celebrates the building’s 1920s origins, with double-height original timber-panelled walls and ornate ceiling roses.

The gym is alongside a heated pool on the ground floor, which is enclosed on each side but open to the Brisbane sky.

The hotel is close to the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre and Queensland Performing Arts Centre in Southbank.

Special introductory room rates start at $135 per night, a saving of 25 per cent.

Travelling along tracks that rarely see passenger traffic … the 1620 in Outback Queensland.

Travelling along tracks that rarely see passenger traffic … the 1620 in Outback Queensland.

A journey by ship and heritage rail from Sydney to Brisbane and back has been released by Cruise Express, featuring a train trip through inland Queensland and NSW along tracks that rarely see passenger traffic.

The seven-day ‘Great Northern Loop’ adventure begins on March 26 next year with a two-night cruise from Sydney to Brisbane aboard the 3500-passenger, 19-deck Majestic Princess, the largest Princess Cruises ship to ever visit Australia.

Guests will have the day to explore Brisbane and spend a night in the city before a four-day journey by two privately chartered heritage trains back to Sydney via historic towns in Queensland and NSW.

A 1960s locomotive, the 1620, will haul heritage carriages to the 150-year-old Toowoomba Station for lunch. The itinerary then leaves regular passenger lines and takes in the rose town of Warwick in the lush Darling Downs where passengers will visit historic Glengallan Homestead for afternoon tea.

After a night in Warwick, guests reboard the train for the trip to the border town of Goondiwindi where they then travel by coach to the northern NSW outpost of North Star at the end of the former Bogabilla Line.

Here, they board the charming heritage rail motor 621/721, also built in the 1960s, bound for Moree, Narrabri and Gunnedah — home of Dorothea Mackellar’s famous poem My Country — before a stop in Werris Creek and a visit to the local rail museum.

The rarely traversed Binnaway Line will then take the rail motor to the historic, gold-mining town of Gulgong.

The final day will see the rail motor travel through the two-kilometre-long Bylong Tunnel and through the Hunter Valley back to Sydney.

The tour is priced from $2690 per person twin-share.

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre if flood … a colourful desert oasis.

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre if flood … a colourful desert oasis.

Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre is currently in flood, with the South Australian Outback being transformed into a spectacular, colourful desert oasis with new wildlife and flora spanning about 145 by 75 kilometres.

The lake only sees water every three-to-10 years and only completely floods three times every 160 years.

When the lake’s water level is low, its glittering crystalised surface stretches as far as the eye can see.

When it floods, waterbirds descend in their thousands, fish converge in channels and wildflowers blanket floodplains.

As water begins to evaporate, the lake takes-on a spectacular pink hue caused by a pigment found within a specific type of salt-loving algae.

For details on how to best take advantage of what is a truly iconic moment, visit the Lake Eyre blog on www.southaustralia.com

Air Tahiti Nui chopper on the beach at Tupai … a spectacular way to enjoy a visit to French Polynesia.

Air Tahiti Nui chopper on the beach at Tupai … a spectacular way to enjoy a visit to French Polynesia.

Air Tahiti Nui has added a fleet of four helicopters to its operations in Tahiti to fill a void for private transfers, high-end experiences and scenic flights.

With the arrival of the final two choppers in July, the joint operation between Air Tahiti Nui and HBG is now in full swing.

Tahiti Nui Helicopters offers the choice of three panoramic flights from Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora, ranging from 10-45 minutes, and including an aerial journey into the volcanic heart of Tahiti, a flight over the luminescent lagoons fringing Moorea, and sightseeing above Bora Bora’s blue lagoon, with one trip also hovering over the heart-shaped island of Tupai.

Jordan … indeed an exotic destination.

Jordan … indeed an exotic destination.

You will need to have your passport and visas in order quickly to save $408 on Intrepid’s eight-day ‘Jordan Discovery’ journey departing this August 30.

Pay from $1632 per person twin-share ex Amman, with highlights including a trip down the Desert Highway to the beach resort of Aqaba, where travellers can snorkel in some of the untouched coral reefs just south of the town.

From here, it’s on to Wadi Rum for a desert-jeep tour and camel ride before settling in to a Bedouin camp for the night to experience the best in Bedouin culture and hospitality.

The trip also includes a guided tour of Petra to explore the old Roman road, amphi-theatre, several old tombs and a climb up to the Monastery for views of the entire site.

Phone 1300 458 437 or visit www.intrepidtravel.com 

Octopus balls … part of the endless diversity of Japanese cuisine.

Octopus balls … part of the endless diversity of Japanese cuisine.

Lyndey Milan OAM has partnered with Mary Rossi Travel and will bring her thirst for life and sense of fun in leading a 12-day small-group tour to Japan next May.

She will guide her guests’ tastebuds on a journey of discovery through the seemingly endless diversity of local cuisine, whilst exploring the major cultural sights along the way.

Among tour highlights will be mastering the art of sushi rolling, gaining a glimpse into the geisha world during a visit to a traditional tea house in Kyoto, and learning how sake is made in a traditional brewery dating back to 1625.

Lyndey will be accompanied by a local Japanese-speaking tour guide who will enhance the journey by offering personal insights into Japanese culture and society.

The tour begins in Tokyo and is priced from $11,995 per person twin-share.