Wednesday, 21 December 2011

to you all...

have a Happy Happy Festive Season
stay safe, jolly and well for the New Year
ENJOY the transition, as you move from the end of one year to the beginning of another. 
ENJOY the company of the people you keep, if you're not enjoying it, move on.
ENJOY the freshness of the produce you consume.
ENJOY and embrace your thoughts and dreams for the future.
Whilst not forgetting, there are others less fortunate...

ENJOY the moment.... until we speak again - Karen

Thursday, 8 December 2011

sailing the maldives...

Operating a travel business and being a busy consultant, means a lot of time is spent sitting at the desk in front of the computer.  Daily on the computer screen, I see endless deals for romancing at resorts, volunteering holidays abroad, extensive car leasing, cruising the Caribbean to trekking in stunning locations, and that is without mentioning the airline deals.
This one came through and stopped me in my tracks. I thought wow. Sailing the Maldives. Imagine, sailing. You and a friend or a few of your friends, if you're not confident or experienced to sail alone, rent a crewed catamaran that provides you with a skipper and a cook to prepare your meals. Having just sailed around Tonga....I had to blink myself back to the reality of work!  
We all take some time during the year for a little getaway and I understand, people have different priorities to what they wish to do with their time and money or even their desired holiday destination.  But, if you love the ocean, escaping crowds - all it takes is a mate or three couples and you could be on yacht sailing turquoise blue waters and having an amazing experience.

To discuss your vessel options and best time to explore and sail the Maldives, give us call: 03-5254 1279

Monday, 14 November 2011


What an amazing destination the Antarctica is the most southern and the fifth largest of the continents, with approximately 98% covered in ice. It's on average the coldest, driest and windiest continent, with temperatures that have reached -89 Cdegrees.
In 1959 twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty, there are now forty-seven countries signed to this treaty that prohibits military activities, mineral mining, nuclear explosions and nuclear power, supports scientific research and protects the continents ecozone. 
To discover and experience this unique landscape it is limited, you can relax with an 11 1/2 hour flight journey, with the flight showing casing the stunning ice-bergs, glaciers, mountains, seas and more for 3 to 4 hours.  Or if you have more time on your hands take an eleven day cruise and delight in landings and zodiac journeys.  It is a once in a life-time experience!
Our Calendar features and has features a New Years Eve and a January flight departing from Melbourne.
Contact us today for reservations and further information:
Aerial view of Antarctica

Antarctica Flight
Orion Cruise
Orion zodiac landing

Thursday, 13 October 2011

lucy mceachern...

Lucy has recently returned from the USA after being invited to exhibit at the "Birds in Art". Its the second year, Lucy has been asked to attend the exhibition and of course she has been delighted in the experience.
To meet Lucy, she is dynamic - friendly, great sense of humour, a farmer, a committee member, a sculptor, I'm not sure about her cooking abilities, but I'm sure there is much more to this talented person. So, TWAD asks her a few questions:
When, where and who with was your first overseas holiday?
It was awhile ago...I was 5 when my mother and I went to the UK to meet the extended family. I still associate sounds and smells to that trip, such as my great Aunts kitchen.

What do you enjoy or not enjoy about travelling?
I love getting to know a culture and experiencing what a 'local' does, and the way travelling changes your perspective on life when you return.

Your accommodation favourites?
I like to stay somewhere central, where you are surrounded by the culture, if it be stepping outside your apartment in Split and hearing the locals cooking dinner upstairs or peering out a window on safari and seeing a heard of elephants wonder by.

How do people overseas respond to your work and you being Australian?
Generally they all comment on Australia's wildlife and their unique characteristics. So far, I think they respond quite well, we'll see if they invite me for a third time round!

Next stop?
Tough choice, but I've always wanted to go to South America.
Lucy and her Duck sculpture in America 2011

exploring Yosemite National Park

Lucy advises it is well worth the visit - Yosemite National Park

Friday, 7 October 2011

a sailing holiday in tonga...

Nuku'alofa market
Wow, "a holiday", that's how I felt when taking off with Virgin Australia to join friends in Tonga for eight days of sailing. Yes, I get to travel often, but it is for work which means meetings and resort inspections - a job I do love, otherwise I wouldn't do it.  But to take off on a holiday to be with friends to share the laughter, the days activities, a joyful "knock-off" aka gin&tonic at the end of the day and now the photos - is fabulous.

The flight itself to Tonga was intriguing, mostly Tongan's and by the chat, laughter and acknowledgements it would seem, they all new each other.

Tonga is made of three main groups of islands - Tongatapu/Eua, Ha'apai and Vava'u. My interest was to go to Vava'u (which has been said to be paradise) and swim with whales.  Whales sharks is what was on my list...I was told they are there, but it is mostly Humpback Whales that people experience when in Tonga.
exploring another island...

Sailing takes you where the wind takes you - well, maybe not that literally, but we did have to plan our days to the wind. We ended up spending the week sailing the Ha'apai group with no disappointment or regret - I didn't get to sail to Vava'u or swim with the whales.  But what I, we did get to experience was: Whale watching daily from either the catamaran whilst sailing or the zodiac as we explored the islands after anchoring.  Snorkelling over what seemed to be endless can only snorkel so far! Skurfing which become our morning activity. Drinking coconut juice straight from a coconut plucked from the island and amazing fresh fish caught from the ocean. Our days also entailed walking remote islands where we met a couple living ruggedly, to islands with no people but a few wild pigs.

My last day I departed early in the morning which took a bit of organising the day before in order to get me to the airport to catch this DC3 (below) back to Nuku'alofa, whilst my friends sailed on to Vava'u. They said I experienced the pick of what Tonga had to offer.  Vava'u is more touristy, it has more yachts and they sighted less whales. But there are a few whale watching/swimming companies there, so the whales are there.
Flying out of Ha'apai
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For all your holiday arrangements contact us at Travel With A Difference.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

orion cruise deals...

PNG - Papua New Guinea - what a destination. It as always held intrigue, the landscape, the tribal costumes and festivals, the close location to Australia yet the remoteness and ruggedness it portrays.
Recently, I had the opportunity to mingle with expats and locals within the tourism sector, yes, there were many laughs and interesting stories. If you're looking for a holiday experience that offers...
  • expedition cruising
  • culture
  • surfing
  • diving
  • festivals
  • bird watching
  • trekking
PNG is for you.  It is a destination for the well-travelled, wanting an amazingly memorable experience.
Orion Cruises have released a 25% saving on their 11Night departing 9 & 20 March 2012. 
Prices start from $6,745 a saving of $2250pp.
Bookings must be made before 30 November 2011.

For other departure dates and destinations for Orion Cruises  2012 visit our Calendar with SAVINGS available until 30 November.  Call us today.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

malaysia airlines business class companion...

airfares are amazing.  Our clients, love the opportunity to fly on an international flight with the extra leg room and service that business class provides. Mostly our clients are travelling with their loved one or friend, whether it be a month long holiday to Europe or a two week jaunt in Asia.  The deal with these special Business Class Companion Fares is that two persons must be travelling together on all flights.
FOR TRAVEL:  31 August 2011 to 15 June 2012
ON SALE: until 30 September 2011
REMEMBER: all is subject to availability, so book now!


DESTINATION PRICES: select cities apply.
Asia from $2,700 per person plus taxes
Europe from $5,230 per person plus taxes

Remember, holiday reservations during September will see you get an eco-friendly KeepCup.
Happy holidays and look forward to speaking soon..

Monday, 29 August 2011

virgin australia....

changes within the travel industry are inevitable and daily.  We've just received the latest update from Virgin Australia, yes, Virgin Australia.  Who? You, may well ask.  Virgin Australia is the new combined branding for virgin blue, pacific blue and polynesian blue.  Their sister airline is V Australia which offers fully serviced flights from Australia to Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi.

Virgin Australia flights within Australia will soon be offering business class seating, eliminating premium economy, that means more leg room and personalised attention.  Virgin Australia has also streamlined their airfares to three simple identifiable fares: Saver, Flexi or Premium.  These all have unique benefits and if you are Velocity member there are additional benefits for you, depending on your status.  
So, next time you wish to fly give us a call and we'll coordinate the best option for you.

Thursday, 25 August 2011 get a KeepCup

When, I discovered this environmentally friendly KeepCup for your take away coffee, I thought fabulous, our TWAD clients would love one, as we know you love to travel and that is what you're doing when you purchase your take-away coffee! - most likely on the road travelling?

So, book and deposit your holiday before 30 September and you'll receive a stunning KeepCup with your documents.  What some holiday ideas...
Maldives for snorkeling and simply relaxing...Hong Kong for shopping and dinning...Japan or USA for skiing...unique sailing experiences in Tonga, Fiji or Indonesia...New Years Eve cruising the Mekong goes on...simply phone us to coordinate your holiday. 

Monday, 22 August 2011

magnificent mauritius

Legends Hotel

a destination that offers shopping, stunning beaches, varying cuisines that have been influenced by the Chinese, Creole, Indian or Muslim and a country side that you can explore.   We have an OFFER for you that will allow to relax and explore the beautiful island of Mauritius.
TRAVEL: before 30 September 2011
COST: $2135 pp including return airfares ex MEL/SYD, 5 Nights accommodation, Daily breakfast & dinner and return airport shuttle transfers.
Legends Hotel
Of volcanic origin and generally sheltered by barriers of coral reefs forming natural, safe, crystal clear lagoons, Mauritius has long been a dream destination. Known to the Arabs as early as the 10th century, but officially «discovered» in 1505 by the Portuguese navigator Pedro Mascarenhas, the island was occupied successively by the Dutch (1598-1712) and the French (1715-1810), and was ceded to Great Britain in 1814 through the Treaty of Paris. On 12 March 1968, Mauritius became Independent. Republic Day was proclaimed on 12 March 1992. Mauritius Tourism

If September is to soon for you, try and plan to holiday during October or November for Divali...

The Festival of Lights is celebrated in a spirit of pure joy. Small clay lamps line the walls, balconies and yards. They are lit at sunset. Their golden light, which is believed to guide the Goddess of wealth and good fortune, can be seen everywhere. Divali represents the victory of truth (light) over ignorance (darkness). The Festival of Lights, Divali, is a celebration of joy, happiness and for many Mauritians, a time for sharing.

at my french table...

it all started a several years ago when I met Jane Webster at a spa cuisine cooking class at Lake House, Daylesford.  She spoke of her chateau in France and I spoke of Travel With A Difference, over the years we maintained contact.
Not long after we meet, Jane packed up her family and belongings and moved to Chateau de Bosgouet in France. Here, she created her desired dream and compiled a fabulous story of her life and the culinary food tours that she offers.  Her fabulous French living life was written into a book 'At my French Table', to which I have recently purchased.  The wow factor of Jane's week long food journeys staying at Chateau de Bosgouet and reuniting with Nikole Furnari (nee Ramsay)  the photographer for the book, was something I just had to share with you. 
If you love travel, food, France, yourself a favour and reserve a week long culinary journey or simply, buy the book.
Nikole visited and lived with Jane and her family, whilst she photographed and captured the moments of all things divine within Jane's dream...At my French Table at Chateau de Bosgouet!

a book to escape by...

Chateau de Bosgouet

fresh produce and homemade
Gather your friends and meet in France, imagine the fun and laughs....
Contact us today for reservations.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

just had to share this...

update of the 11th annual Fromage et Vins Festival...

Cheese and wine, it has been known to be a meal for a friend and I...fresh and varied are the cheeses from the Richmond Hill Cafe & Lader.

This amazing experience will take place at the following Sofitel resorts:
Sofitel Tahiti Maeve Beach Resort  6th -17th September
Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort   22nd, 23rd & 24th September
Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach and Private Island   29th, 30th September & 1st October


During the festival you will experience your favourite and discover some new cheese flavours from France, accompanied by a selection of wines chosen by sommelier Mr David Perron.  A buffet of more than a 100 cheeses and 110 wines will be served during the festival.

Contact us to get us for further information and your holiday package...

its just not for honeymooners...

but Tahiti does have that perception because of its luxury resorts, over water bungalows and stunning beaches and landscapes.  So read on to discover more...

Tahiti is the largest of the 118 islands and atolls that comprise French Polynesia and features the only international airport. Papeete is the capital city and commercial hub of French Polynesia. Located on the waterfront, Vai’ete Square is where gourmet catering trucks (the “roulottes”) settle at night to offer delicious, great value meals.  The colourful market is close by offering local food, hand-made crafts and souvenirs. Tahiti is an island of hidden treasures – from surfing on the west coast, to lush waterfalls, to the history in the Paul Gauguin museum.
French Polynesia is not the cheapest destination within the pacific, but if you are desiring and curious for that wow factor-once in a lifetime holiday, Tahiti and her islands will do it.  Easy access from Tahiti is Moorea its the destination for families, outdoor activities, surfing and a variety of resorts catering to guests varying budgets.  Now, to step into a week long holiday of indulgence, serenity and warm tropical days, let us take you to Bora Bora.
Bora Bora, known as the ‘Pearl of the Pacific’ undoubtedly has the world’s most beautiful lagoon and is located only 50 minutes from Tahiti by plane. The majority of resorts have been built on ‘motus’ (small islands) in the lagoon surrounding Bora Bora. Most face into the lagoon and Mount Otemanu and offer privacy, pristine water and extraordinary views. Bora Bora is the ‘romance island’ but also offers a broad range of land and water activities.
Family package for 2 adults and 2 children under 12yrs: staying 7 nights at Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti, including flights, transfers, free kids club and more From $7,460 ex MEL / SYD

yes, Tahiti is that special honeymoon destination
For more offers contact us today...

Friday, 15 July 2011

new years cruising on the mekong river

The Early Bird offer for the Luxury Mekong River Cruise has been extended to 31 July.   This is fabulous news, as it gives you the opportunity to book and deposit and receive not only the Early Bird Saving of up to $500 per person, but a complimentary nights accommodation at the ParkRoyal Hotel Melbourne Airport valued at $220.
The luxury journey includes:
2 Nights in Siem Reap, 7 Nights aboard the The Jahan in cabin of choice, 2 Nights in Saigon, all cruise excursions entrance fees, English speaking guides, Breakfast and Dinner daily plus 7 Lunch whilst on cruise, a Memorable New Year's Eve dinner and celebration, Arrival and Departure transfers, Tips, porterage and port charges.

Luxury cruising on the Mekong River
Celebrate New Years doing something different....
Jahan Cruise
Call us today to book your space...
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Thursday, 14 July 2011

malaysian airlines business class companion fares!

Fancy flying Business Class and escaping on a holiday? Well, you and a friend can...
Malaysian Airlines have just released Business Class Companion fares to Asia, UK & Europe with fares starting from $2700 ex Melbourne excluding taxes and surcharges.
Thats a SAVING of $1220 per person!
On SALE until 31 July 2011.
Valid for TRAVEL from now to 30 April 2012.
Contact Travel With A Difference for information and reservations.

Surin Beach

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

a wedding in an ice chapel...

Well, whoever thought!  I was intrigued and surprised when a client/friend said, if she were to marry her long-time boyfriend, it would be in the ice chapel followed by a night staying at the Ice Hotel and much more.  My response was what!
Her desire for a unique wedding experience was not so bazaar, as from the months between December - April, that is exactly what brides and grooms are doing.  We've had a great time, giving this attention.  So, if there is any wedding or honeymoon desires or dreams you may have, don't shelve them.  Give us a call and I bet we can coordinate it...

Entrance to the Ice Hotel - photographer Ben Nilssen

Ice Suite - photographer Ben Nilssen
Ice Chapel - photograph Ben Nilssen
Happy Couple - photographer Peter Grant

Friday, 1 July 2011

getaway in vietnam...

Many holiday options and offers come into our office from river cruising, to dog-sledding, to trans Siberian rail journeys to walking, cycling and trekking journeys...but this, I just had to share.
Its Six Senses newest resort, Six Senses Con Dao, Vietnam.  Why do we love Six Senses?  - they operate sustainable resorts offering comfort, wholesome food and privacy within a location that is unique.
On Saturday, 2 July at 5pm Getaway on Channel 9 will feature Con Dao, an island that is a 45 minute flight from Ho Chi Minh City.
In conjunction with the show, Travel Indochina have a 6 Night stay in an Ocean Front Villa with private infinity pool and daily breakfast.  This is including three free nights.
COST:  per person $1137 twin share
TRAVEL: 02 July to 30 September
OFFER: ends 31 July 2011 - yes, our 10 Year Celebration offer is valid also.
This is a stunning holiday offer for anyone who wishes to sit back and relax...whilst not forgetting that Côn Đảo National Park is working with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Vietnam to further protection in the marine areas, with programs to establish a Marine Protected Area that protects coral reefs, seagrass beds and species, while also developing sustainable nature-based eco-tourism. The island's management is strongly geared towards sustainable use, hoping to learn from previous experiences in Vietnam and the region to balance development with conservation.
Combine this with a few days in Ho Chi Minh City...what more could you ask for?

Speak to us today for further information, a brochure or to book your deserving getaway....