Six highlights in your travel week | 3 Jan

Sound Waves … can carry up to 12 passengers
Sound Waves … can carry up to 12 passengers

New state-of-the-art boats have enabled sea-lion tour operators in Western Australia’s Jurien Bay to constantly improve their product.

The animals’ puppy-like nature and unreserved curiosity towards swimmers attracts tourists and often results in impressive underwater footage.

Turquoise Safaris’ new boat, Sound Waves, has been touring since early November and will continue to operate year-round. The vessel is a custom-built, 10-metre-long fibreglass catamaran which can carry up to 12 passengers.

J-Bay, as it is affectionately known to the locals, offers fantastic fishing, snorkelling and 4WD conditions. Additionally, it is a stone’s throw from Nambung National Park, home to the iconic Pinnacles Desert and a favourite pit-stop for road trippers.

The addition to Turquoise Safaris’ fleet ensures both sea lion tours and fishing charters can operate daily.

Murray Princess … the largest inland paddle wheeler in the Southern Hemisphere.

Murray Princess … the largest inland paddle wheeler in the Southern Hemisphere.

Cruise the mighty Murray River between Walker Flat and Murray Bridge on board the 120-guest Murray Princess over the Easter long weekend on a three-night Captain Cook cruise departing April 19.

It’s the largest inland paddle wheeler in the Southern Hemisphere, and oozes with the authentic charm of yesteryear yet is also equipped with modern conveniences.

Sample the delights of the Murray and Riverland regions with a structured tasting of delicious local produce and wines in the Sturt Dining Room.

Get up close to the rivers breathtaking 20-million-year-old cliffs and amazing birdlife on a flat-bottomed boat ride and learn about the thriving ecology of the river on an informative nature walk.

Join the Captain for an inspection of the wheelhouse, participate in a lively quiz, play some bocce on the riverbank or relax with some fishing off the side of the ship.

Be treated to a fine selection of food and wine in the ship’s elegant restaurant and bar.

Fares start from $899 per person twin-share, including complimentary scenic coach transfers from Adelaide.

The silo art trail … spanning Western Australia’s agricultural heartland.

The silo art trail … spanning Western Australia’s agricultural heartland.

A 1000-kilometre silo art trail spanning Western Australia’s agricultural heartland will provide tourists with ready access to the state’s largest outdoor art gallery.

It is hoped that the trail, completed by cultural organisation FORM in partnership with grain handler CBH, will become one of Western Australia’s iconic drive trails, linking together strong cultural narratives, storytelling and world-class art.

The completion of the trail comes at a time when Tourism WA has announced a new global tourism campaign positioning Western Australia as the road-trip state.

The campaign aims to encourage visitors to discover Western Australia through the many self-drive holiday routes across the State.

The trail took seven artists a total of 92 days to paint six silos using more than 1700 litres of paint over a three-year period.

Cartagena … on the Caribbean coast and fifth largest city in Colombia.

Cartagena … on the Caribbean coast and fifth largest city in Colombia.

Book any of three Contours Travel 2019 Latin America cruises — ‘Central America Cruise Explorer’, ‘Central America Cruise Adventure’ and ‘Chilean Fjord Cruise Adventure’ — by January 31 and receive complimentary cabin upgrade and about $1390 travel credit per person to spend on flights or pre/post-cruise land arrangements.

All three cruises are aboard a boutique cruise ship, the 146-passenger Resolute, which offers 360-degree viewing platforms, a pool, gymnasium and two dining areas.

The 10-day ‘Central America Cruise Explorer’, for instance, begins in Panama and ends in Mexico, traversing Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras and Belize.

Highlights include snorkelling the coral reefs of Colombia’s Rosario Islands, hiking to the top of Alto El Pico on Colombia’s Providencia Island for 360-degree views of the Caribbean, visiting the ancient Miskito people of the Miskito Cays in Nicaragua, and looking for sea turtles, howler and white-headed capuchin monkeys at Jeanette Kawas National Park, Honduras.

The cruise begins on May 2 and prices start from $7458 per person twin-share.

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

One of three diverse ski resorts on Mt Hood … Skibowl’s quaint warming hut.

One of three diverse ski resorts on Mt Hood … Skibowl’s quaint warming hut.

Oregon’s Mt Hood is home to three diverse ski resorts, including the Skibowl, which claims largest night-skiing terrain in the United States.

Located 90 minutes from Portland International Airport, on Mt Hood visitors can ski with locals, enjoy a beer at a craft brewery, spend the night in a mountain resort, follow snowshoe trails through old growth forests and experience what makes the area a truly special place.

Mtß Hood Skibowl has been busy in the off-season, expanding its night-ski terrain with the addition of two new lit runs, bringing the total to 36.

The new lights allow visitors to now ski from the top of Upper Bowl all the way to the bottom of the hill.

Skibowl has also purchased a new winch snow-grooming machine, which will allow workers to groom even the steeps of Upper Bowl for the first time.

The 19th-floor INK 360 sky bar … offers stunning sunset views.

The 19th-floor INK 360 sky bar … offers stunning sunset views.

The new InterContinental Phu Quoc Long Beach Resort reckons its 19th-floor INK 360 sky bar, which incorporates a giant sea creature into its design, offers the most stunning panoramic sunset views on Vietnam’s Phu Quoc Island.

The main bar and cocktail lounge use mother-of-pearl and white marble to evoke the feel of the ocean floor, while the exterior deck offers a vista over the ocean from the highest point on the island.

The shadow play and longitudinal markings of the floor pattern represent a marine chart, further enhancing the maritime theme that runs throughout the bar.

Meanwhile, the mixology team have conceived a drinks menu that reimagines traditional flavours, styles and textures into a series of contemporary cocktails.

A selection of fine wines, beers and spirits are also available at INK 360, as well as a sharing-plates menu that includes items such as a Japanese yakitori selection, and a cured-meats-and-cheeses plate featuring Italian cold cuts and premium French cheeses served with nuts, grapes, raisins and homemade bread.