Six highlights in your travel week | 15 June

Peppers Silo Hotel … cleverly transformed accommodation in Launceston.
Peppers Silo Hotel … cleverly transformed accommodation in Launceston.

Launceston’s new Peppers Silo Hotel has officially opened its doors to the public.

Originally erected in 1960, the Kings Wharf grain silos were left unused for decades until two years ago when construction began to breathe new life into the structure, transforming the silo barrels into a state-of-the-art contemporary new hotel.

Located in a prime position on the edge of the River Tamar and close to the beautiful Cataract Gorge, the redeveloped site is now a 10-level hotel featuring 108 guest rooms, including 52 inside the barrels of the former silos, a restaurant and bar called Grain of the Silos, undercover car parking, conference facilities for up to 500 people, and an integrated lobby and reception space.

Grain of the Silos is the property’s onsite restaurant and bar, which is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner and features a range of meal options focused on local Tasmanian produce and supporting local farmers and producers. 

Peppers Silo has launched a special opening rate. Stay from $199 per night and receive breakfast and complimentary wi-fi. The offer is valid for sale and travel until midnight December 25.

Phone 1300 987 600 or visit www.peppers.com.au/silo 

Sanctuary by Sirromet … surrounded by paperbark trees and giant scribbly gums.

Sanctuary by Sirromet … surrounded by paperbark trees and giant scribbly gums.

What is thought to be Queensland’s first winery glamping experience has opened at Sirromet Wines estate, 40 minutes from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, in picturesque Mt Cotton.

Stage one of Sanctuary by Sirromet project consists of 18 tented pavilions.

Approval has been given for 54 sites in total, scattered over a 20-acre expanse.

The tented pavilions are located on a hillside and follow the contour down to a lagoon which is home to a variety of native wildlife and surrounded by paperbark trees and giant scribbly gums.

Each has a private balcony floating above the landscape, giving guests a ‘tree house’ impression looking across the canopy and over the lake.

Rates range from $280 to $480 per night for a minimum two-night stay, including a locally sourced breakfast hamper.

Captain Cook Cruises … offers a guarantee on its whale-watching ventures.

Captain Cook Cruises … offers a guarantee on its whale-watching ventures.

It’s only 15 minutes’ sailing time from Sydney’s Circular Quay to the open ocean and the chance to spotting the world’s largest mammal on a Captain Cook whale-watching cruise.

The company operates daily whale-watching cruises throughout the season, which runs until the end of October but peaks in July, just as the NSW school holidays come around.

The cruises depart Circular Quay and take passengers past the Sydney Opera House, Fort Denison and the eastern suburbs, before passing through the Heads.

Humpbacks visit Sydney’s coastline as part of their annual migration and it’s quite possible to witness behaviour such as breaching, spy hopping, pec- and tail-waving and slapping.

Southern rights, orcas and minke whales may also be spotted, as well as seals, albatross and fairy penguins. Dolphins nearly always accompany the cruise, with some pods numbering up to a hundred.

Passengers are offered a whale guarantee — if a whale is not spotted, passengers can cruise again for free.

Captain Cook whale-watching cruises are priced at $85 per adult and $49 per child, but book online and save up to 35 per cent on specials.

The Kuril Islands … also known as the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’.

The Kuril Islands … also known as the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’.

The Russian Far East is one of the last unexplored places on Earth.

World Expeditions has three options available to adventure in this remote part of the planet — cruising, walking and sailing.

Among the offers is a new cruising expedition to one of the most geologically active and biologically rich parts of the planet — the large number of live volcanoes on the Kamchatka Peninsula and along the Kuril Islands, which have earned the area the title of the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire’.

The 13-day trip focuses on the region’s extraordinary biodiversity, with a week around the remote Kuril Islands, which stretch across the Bering Sea between Russia and Japan.

The first landing at the Kuril Islands promises is a highlight — uninhabited Atlasova, the chain’s northernmost island, is home to the archipelago’s tallest volcano, which forms a quasi-perfect cone rising steeply out of the sea.

Prices start at about $10,125 per person twin-share.

Being vegan shouldn’t exclude access to everyday food adventures.

Being vegan shouldn’t exclude access to everyday food adventures.

In response to a growing plant-based food movement, Intrepid Travel has launched a range of vegan tours to India, Italy and Thailand next year.

“Food is one of the best ways to connect with a local culture, but dietary requirements can be tricky with language barriers,” said Intrepid Travel’s regional product manager Tara Kennaway.

Included is an eight-day ‘India Vegan Food Adventure’, with highlights including waking in Delhi to a hot Indian Chai with soy milk before walking to the Jama Mosque and eating Vegan Samosa and Jalebis on the way.

In Agra, travellers will visit the Taj Mahal before lunch at a cafe that supports acid-attack victims.

 Vietnam … a truly exotic destination.

Vietnam … a truly exotic destination.

Helen Wong’s Tours has released a 12-day ‘Highlights of Vietnam’ group tour especially created for budget-conscious travellers.

Priced from $2400 per person twin-share, the tour includes return Vietnam Airlines fares from Sydney or Melbourne, and focuses on visits to capital Hanoi, breathtakingly beautiful Halong Bay, former capital Hue and World-Heritage-listed Hoi An.

Cosmopolitan Danang and bustling Ho Chi Minh City, famous for the nearby Cu Chi Tunnels, are also toured in an air-conditioned coach, along with the fascinating Mekong Delta with its stilted homes and seafood farms.

To grab a closer view along the canals in the delta region, travellers will board a sampan for the sightseeing experience.

Nine nights in four-star hotel accommodation (with daily breakfast) are included in the price, along with a night aboard a traditional Vietnam junk, and most lunches.

Phone (02) 9267 7833 or visit www.helenwongstours.com