Five highlights in your travel week | 25 Aug

Balloons aplenty over the Avon Valley for the National Ballooning Championships from September 2-9
Balloons aplenty over the Avon Valley for the National Ballooning Championships from September 2-9

The skies above the West Australian town of Northam and the surrounding Avon Valley will be adorned with 30 beautiful-hot air balloons for the National Ballooning Championships from September 2-9.

Public festivities commence on September 2 at 4pm with the Northam Balloon Fiesta and visually stunning Balloon Glow, after dark at the Henry Street Oval.

Fiesta will include a live stage show, balloon-discovery zone, carnival rides, game zone, markets, food and drinks, and show bags. The competition balloons will fire up with musical accompaniment and a fireworks finale.

Balloons will launch at around sunrise each morning and fly until approximately 9am.

Another highlight is the key-grab competition on September 9. Pilots fly from point to point, collecting foam ‘keys’ from the end of 10-metre poles in several locations.

Broome’s coastline … end of a rewarding overland adventure.

Broome’s coastline … end of a rewarding overland adventure.

Intrepid Travel has released a spring deal offering savings on its Perth-to-Broome overland adventure for select September departures.

The 10-day safari tracks north along the wildly beautiful West Australian coastline, taking in some of the world’s most remote beaches set against a backdrop of rugged outback terrain.

Rates of from $1525 per person twin-share include savings of $270 for departures on September 9, 16, 23 and 30.

Among the attractions that travellers will visit are Ningaloo Reef Marine Park, which is famous for its snorkelling and visits by whale sharks, dolphins and whales, and Monkey Mia at Shark Bay Marine Park, where they will have the chance to swim with dolphins.

There’s also sandboarding on the dunes at Jurien Bay, a discovery of ancient desert sculptures — the Pinnacles — in Nambung National Park and four-wheel drive adventures on deserted beaches and through the Outback.

Included are three nights camping, four nights in a hostel and two nights at a safari camp, all meals, sandboarding, transport in an all-terrain vehicle with expert guide, and National Parks entry.

Wanderlust … Canberra’s annual ‘mindfulness triathlon’.

Wanderlust … Canberra’s annual ‘mindfulness triathlon’.

Canberra offers plenty of reasons this spring, apart from the world-renowned Floriade flower festival, to embrace the national capital.

Three rugby league World Cup games will be played —France v Lebanon October 29, Australia v France on November 3, and Fiji v Italy on November 10.

And there’s also a rugby union Test between Australia and Argentina at Canberra Stadium on September 16.

Getting up close and personal with Australia’s friendly natural wildlife at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is another option.

The city’s “mindfulness triathlon”, Wanderlust, returns on October 21, with participants engaging in three activities — running, yoga and meditation — all set against the stunning backdrop of Lake Burley Griffin.

Falls Creek Country Club apartments … direct access to the snow-covered slopes.

Falls Creek Country Club apartments … direct access to the snow-covered slopes.

After significant August snowfalls, the Victorian ski resort of Falls Creek reports excellent conditions for skiers and boarders, with all ski lifts operating.

From August 27, families can stay in a standard, well located, self-contained apartment from $91 per person per night and also benefit from a 20 per cent discount on equipment hire.

The apartment can accommodate up to eight guests but for about $15 per person extra, upgrades are available to a three-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms, a separate toilet and an outside balcony offering views of the ski lifts and snow-covered slopes

A feature of Falls Creek Country Club apartments is driveway access on arrival in Falls Creek, free access to a heated pool, spa and sauna, free wi-fi and an on-site restaurant.

Phone 03 5758 3391 or visit

Great Walks of Australia has expanded its portfolio by including Auswalk’s ‘Blue Mountains Grand Traverse’.

The Blue Mountains walk offers a fully supported opportunity to explore this important natural environment, only 90 minutes from Sydney and featuring stunning cliffs, canyon rainforests and waterfalls in a UNESCO World Heritage area.

It’s a new three-day walking experience priced at $1595 per person twin-share, including transport to and from Sydney, and two nights accommodation at Echoes.

Walks take in the Grand Canyon, Ruined Castle and Valley of the Waters, as well as famous viewpoints such as those of Govetts Leap, the Three Sisters, Wentworth and Katoomba Falls.