Tips to help you choose your next holiday

Grafton in spring: a blaze of purple. Image: Destination NSW.
Grafton in spring: a blaze of purple. Image: Destination NSW.

Grafton is blooming wonderful

Spring blooms are at their finest in Grafton on the NSW North Coast at the annual jacaranda festival from October 25 to November 2.

The striking purple blossoms have been celebrated since 1935 with a variety of events including street parades, markets, cultural and handicraft displays and the crowning of the Jacaranda Queen.

Recent festival additions include a riverside feast of the best food, wine, craft beer and local artistic talent from the Clarence Valley region.

Visit www.jacarandafestival.com.

Char: an indulgent dining experience.

Char: an indulgent dining experience.

New Top End experiences

New experiences have been developed in the Northern Territory's Top End to complement the Bruce Munro: Tropical Light which will run in Darwin from November 1 until April 30 on 1 November as a free-to-the-public outdoor art exhibition.

The products range from five-star dining at Char to Tropical Nights at Crocosaurus Cove.

Char, for instance, has created an indulgent dining experience which involves being collected in a limousine and escorted to East Point Reserve, where guests will be treated to champagne and canapes as the sun sets over the Arafura Sea.

Guests will return to Char for a two-course dinner with matched wines, before an exclusive tour of the exhibition between main course and dessert. Cost is $495 per head.

Visit www.northernterritory.com .

A taste of lamb: part of the food-and-wine experience on Flinders Ranges Odysseys' three-day tour

A taste of lamb: part of the food-and-wine experience on Flinders Ranges Odysseys' three-day tour

Food will compete with the views

Flinders Ranges Odysseys has a new three-day tour ex-Adelaide offering classy accommodation, food and wine while discovering the spectacular and rugged scenery of Wilpena Pound and the magnificent ranges.

Guests will explore the 540 million-year-old Flinders Ranges in luxury air-conditioned Mercedes Benz vehicles, in small, intimate groups of up to eight people, accompanied by a personal local tour guide.

Accommodation is at Rawnsley Park Station overlooking the southern side of Wilpena Pound and surrounded by seclusion and breathtaking views. Highlights include a three-course lamb-tasting experience, served with matching Clare Valley wines, and finished with South Australian ports and local cheeses.

Prices are from $2242 per person twin-share, including all meals, pick-up and set- down at selected Adelaide CBD hotels, personalised touring, expert commentary from a local driver/guide, all entrance fees, special permits and all activities. Phone 08 8553 0386 or visit www.kangarooislandodysseys.com.au.

Melt!: Your one and only goal is to avoid becoming the next victim.

Melt!: Your one and only goal is to avoid becoming the next victim.

Scare yourself silly

Warning! Madame Tussauds Sydney is hosting Melt!, a series of immersive horror tours, this Halloween between October 31 and November 2 at 6pm and 10.30pm nightly, and the show is not for the faint-hearted.

Are you brave enough to join the Melt! tours? Your one and only goal is to avoid becoming the next victim. Get caught and you'll join the others as you haunt the shadows of Madame Tussauds as the killer's half-melted trophy.

The artist needs a muse, someone to inspire their next trophy and no visitor wants to be next.

Work together to learn the identity of the Tussaud's killer and survive to tell the tale. Admission is $50 (18-plus only).

Visit www.madametussauds.com.au.

Prosecco: a place where vineyards cling to the sides of endless rolling hills.

Prosecco: a place where vineyards cling to the sides of endless rolling hills.

Walk through a wine-making region

Prosecco may be one of the world's most famous and appreciated wine styles, but as a place, where vineyards cling to the sides of endless rolling hills and quaint medieval villages, it remains one of Italy's best-kept secrets.

Exodus Travels' Prosecco Hills Long Weekend, a four-day walking and cultural experience, has been designed for those looking for a short, guided experience through the beautiful wine-making region while already exploring Italy.

The tour includes the Prosecco Hills loop and the Villa-Barbaro-to-Asolo walk, and combines hiking, sightseeing, beautiful local wineries, plenty of prosecco tasting and an abundance of local cuisine.

Prices are from $1449, though those booking by October 18 can save 10 per cent on trips before December 31 next year.

Visit www.exodustravels.com.

From Lonely Planet's The Universe: a telescope on Hawaii's Mauna Kea.

From Lonely Planet's The Universe: a telescope on Hawaii's Mauna Kea.

Travel guide to the Universe

Lonely Planet has journeyed further than it ever has before, with what is thought to be the world's first and only travel guide to the Universe, a book created in collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.

The new book touches down on the planets of our solar system, before continuing to the edge of the known Universe via exoplanets, newborn stars, supernova remnants, galaxy superclusters and more, as it discovers space's most astonishing sights. Featuring 608 pages, 553 photos, and 124 planets, The Universe follows in the successful tradition of Lonely Planet's 2014 best-selling guide to The World, which is also still available.

The hardcover book is priced at $39.99. Visit www.lonelyplanet.com.