Make the trip to Uluru in October this year to attend an exclusive Sounds of Silence gala dinner featuring Jessica Mauboy and you will experience two very different musical sensations.
Early in the evening, the gentle sounds of the didgeridoo accompany a delicious bush tucker-inspired meal served under the outback night sky. The night culminates with a performance from chart-topping singer and Eurovision entrant Jessica Mauboy.
Imagine Holiday's "Uluru and Jessica Mauboy Collection" has three tour package options with Gold tickets offering the choice of a helicopter tour for a stunning aerial view of Uluru and Kata Tjuta or a visit to the Field of Light Experience, an art installation that illuminates the landscape with shimmering light. All package options include escorted tours of the rock formations of this stunning landscape.
The five-night tours begin at $2999 per person, but if you mention Explore, readers will receive a $100 discount per booking.
Explore more: imagineholidays.com.au
Dine out on Gladys
The hard-hit Northern Beaches in Sydney will be among the first to participate in the NSW Government's Dine and Discover scheme.
Every adult NSW resident will be offered $100 worth of vouchers to spend, spreading a little cheer among cafes and restaurants hit by COVID-19.
A trial of the program will begin in February, with venues in The Rocks and Broken Hill also among the beneficiaries.
The $500-million scheme offers residents four $25 vouchers to spend on local hospitality and entertainment venues: two on dining out and two on entertainment, activities and cultural institutions, cinemas, amusement parks and performing arts.
Explore more: service.nsw.gov.au
Come fly with us
Of course, we can't fly overseas yet. But at least Qantas has confirmed a major expansion of its regional network, with new services to Albury, Griffith, Merimbula, Newcastle and Wagga Wagga.
The move means the best of regional Australia is suddenly so much more accessible. Mayor of Griffith John Dal Broi said: "Griffith City Council is thrilled to welcome Qantas to Griffith. Connectivity to Sydney is critical to our economy and lifestyle and Council is pleased residents and businesses will now have additional flight scheduling options."
The new QantasLink services will be operated largely by the airline's 50-seat Q300 turboprop aircraft, with upgraded cabin interiors.
The new Sydney-Griffith, Melbourne-Newcastle and Melbourne-Merimbula services will commence February 1; while Melbourne-Wagga Wagga and Melbourne-Albury will start on March 28.
Home-grown river cruising
We know it's not the Danube or the Rhine, but cruises of Australia's very own Murray River have been going great guns since we've all been holidaying at home.
Cruise fans have been sharing their adventures aboard the paddlesteamer Emmylou on two- to six-night cruises. And now journeys on the Emmylou come with a mighty $530 per couple discount if you book before January 31, and free wine and beer are thrown in too. The savings are available on Winter Sun sailings this year.
From 1 April 2021, fares for all two- to six-night cruises will include selected wines and beer with dinner, allowing guests to toast their relaxing journey along the iconic Murray River.
PS Emmylou cruises stop for visits to wineries, historic farm stations, Indigenous sites and the World Heritage-listed river red gum wetlands at Barmah. To book, contact small-ship cruise specialist Cruise Traveller on 1800 507 777.
Explore more: cruisetraveller.com.au/MRP-winter21
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