Six highlights in your travel week | 15 May

 Whale-watching season … underway along Australia’s East Coast.
Whale-watching season … underway along Australia’s East Coast.

With the whale-watching season well underway along Australia’s East Coast, Lake Macquarie Tourism offers tips on some places to watch migrating whales in that part of the world.

Between May and November, the Pacific Coast migration runs from south to north then back again as whales seek warmer waters to wait out the winter months.

Among the suggestions are the Awabakal Viewpoint, along a walk through the Awabakal Nature Reserve from Dudley, south through coastal heath and forest to Redhead.

The viewpoint itself offers panoramic views to the north and the walk is full of spectacular wildflowers between July and October.

Another highly recommended spot is the picturesque Caves Beach Walk, which traverses the clifftops south from Caves Beach to secluded Pinny Beach in the Wallarah National Park.

It’s an easy walking trail ideal for observing the northern migration between May and July.

The trail features plenty of lookouts where you can enjoy a closer view, while the southern end of the beach is home to a famous group of sea caves which shouldn’t be missed and are perfect for exploring at low tide.

For full details, phone 1800 802 044 or visit www.visitlakemac.com.au

Paperbark Camp on the NSW South Coast — often regarded as Australia’s first ‘glamping’ retreat.

Paperbark Camp on the NSW South Coast — often regarded as Australia’s first ‘glamping’ retreat.

Marshmallows around the campfire, scenic bushwalks and whale watching highlight a winter-weekend and July-school-holiday special at luxurious Paperbark Camp on the NSW South Coast — often regarded as Australia’s first ‘glamping’ retreat.

Available on Friday and Sunday weekend bookings between June 15 and July 3, as well as on bookings during the NSW July school holidays, the winter deal includes two nights accommodation in one of Paperbark’s elevated, luxurious glamping tents, plus dinner and breakfast in The Gunyah Restaurant, nestled amongst the tree tops.

Boasting open camp fires, luxury bedding, contemporary furnishings, free-standing bath tubs and hot showers overlooking the bush, which is home to kangaroos, possums and colourful birdlife, Paperbark Camp is great for a winter getaway.

Located just a five-minute drive from Jervis Bay, Paperbark Camp has several scenic walking trails nearby and plenty of opportunities to see whales and dolphins.

Including a saving of 35 per cent, the two-night ‘Winter Woollies’ package is available from $720 per couple in an Original Safari Tent. Exclusive to the July holiday period, kids can share the stay for just $35 per night — a saving of 50 per cent off the normal supplement.

Phone 1300 668 167 or visit www.paperbarkcamp.com.au

Sydney’s Tank Stream Hotel … will celebrate 10 years of Vivid with the property’s first art exhibition.

Sydney’s Tank Stream Hotel … will celebrate 10 years of Vivid with the property’s first art exhibition.

During Sydney’s Vivid Festival, the Tank Stream Hotel will ‘light’ up the centre of the city with its own Vivid-inspired art show along with special accommodation and dining packages.

To celebrate Vivid’s 10th year anniversary, the Tank Stream Hotel will stage its first-ever art exhibition, Viva la Vivid, from June 2-16, featuring NSW South Coast artist Jenny Asquith.

Her exhibition is inspired by the vibrant array of colours of Vivid Sydney and the rich imagery of the coast.

A masterclass will be held by Jenny during Vivid at the Tank Stream Hotel designed to show how Vivid’s ‘splash’ of colour can be translated to canvas. 

All guests booking a Vivid two-night package will receive free breakfast in Le Petit Flot restaurant for two people each morning. The special package applies to stays between 25 May and 16 June.

 The Anakonda … Amazon cruising in 18 suites with private balconies and panoramic windows.

The Anakonda … Amazon cruising in 18 suites with private balconies and panoramic windows.

Contours Travel is offering savings of up to $2000 per couple on Amazon River cruises, which take guests into the heart of the world’s biggest rainforest, home to monkeys, pink river dolphins, otters, turtles, and more than 478 bird species.

Bookings made on the river cruises before May 31 will also receive free return flights from Quito, Ecuador, to the edge of the Amazon rainforest, and a cabin upgrade.

The cruises include opportunities to engage with local culture, customs and cuisines as well as journeying into Yasuni, Ecuador’s largest National Park, where guests can explore the region’s unique flora and fauna from on deck or from vantage points at the top of observation towers.

Couples can choose between two vessels — the Manatee Amazon Explorer or the more luxurious Anakonda.

The Anakonda features 18 suites with private balconies and panoramic windows, expansive observation desk, jacuzzi, alfresco lounge, hammocks, canoes, kayaks and the services of naturalist tour leaders and a travel concierge.

Four-day cruises cost from $4118, with the cabin upgrade and free-flight offer saving $1000 per person.

Phone 1300 135 391 or visit www.contourstravel.com.au

Bori … a Sulawesi ceremonial ground.

Bori … a Sulawesi ceremonial ground.

Khiri Travel Indonesia has launched three options for exploring the Sulawesi archipelago in Indonesia based on available time.

There’s a one-week south Sulawesi only. For up to two weeks there’s south Sulawesi with central or northern areas added. And there is a three-week-or-more option exploring all three regions.

Each option can be customized and has been designed for the adventure seeker who wants to get off the beaten track but retain comfortable lodgings and transport, quality meals, and in-depth cultural insights from local Khiri guides.

After exploring the capital Makassar, the one-week south Sulawesi trip, for instance, focuses on the Toraja Highlands with its mythical culture and elaborate funeral ceremonies. The journey includes riverboat trips, forest hiking, and some cycling. On the return leg, the flight between Palopo (near Toraja) and Makassar takes only an hour.

The annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival … beating drums and splashing waves.

The annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival … beating drums and splashing waves.

A thunderous boom of beating drums and splashing waves will take over Hong Kong’s iconic Central Harbourfront and Victoria Harbour from June 22-24 to celebrate the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival.

Organisers will welcome more than 160 teams from around the globe for the ninth festival, including at least five from Australia — Jumbucks from Geelong, Maroochy Sea Serpents from the Sunshine Coast, Melbourne Flames from Melbourne, Swaggies  from Port Macquarie, and the Sydney Tsunami Dragon Boat Team.

Admission to the boating is free, and a special feature will be a fancy-dress competition, where paddlers compete in creative and eye-catching outfits.

Onshore entertainment includes a party at the Central Harbourfront, featuring an artificial sand beach, allowing spectators to soak up the excitement with sand between their toes.