Five highlights in your travel week | March 17

The Sydney Opera House … always a centrepiece of Vivid but far from being the festival’s only attraction.

The world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas, Vivid Sydney will return bigger, bolder and brighter over 23 nights from Friday May 26 to Saturday June 17, with a new precinct at Barangaroo, an expanded light walk through the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, and imaginary creatures on the sails of the Sydney Opera House.

Vivid Light will transform the cityscape into a creative canvas, Vivid Music’s biggest program to date will take over Sydney stages with, and Vivid Ideas will provide a global forum for creative conversations.

Vivid Sydney’s vibrant kaleidoscope will stream into a new precinct at Barangaroo, with a trail of installations winding through intimate laneways, past waterfront vistas and into a foodie paradise.

Visitors will be immersed in ‘A Day in the Light’, an outdoor theatre of light and sound that lets them become part of the artwork, and be treated to optical illusions at Trapdoor, which tells the stories of Barangaroo’s past.

The Larapinta Trail … set for stunning wildflower displays.

Unseasonably high summer rainfall has paved the way for stunning wildflower displays during the April-September trekking season along Central Australia’s Larapinta Trail.

World Expeditions has launched five niche trips for the season, comprising a challenging itinerary for hard-core walkers, an inspirational ‘awakenings’ journey, an arts expedition, and two female-only ventures — a yoga-and-meditation-based ‘goddess’ walk and an in-comfort itinerary.

The six-day ‘Larapinta Challenger Trek’, for instance, takes in some of the toughest sections along the Larapinta, with participants walking up to 30 kilometres each day, passing over remote ridges and canyons while winding along the West Macdonnell Ranges.

The price is from $2,495 per person twin-share.

Sierra Escape … the Mudgee region’s first ‘glamping’ experience.

Sierra Escape has introduced what it reckons is the Mudgee region’s first ‘glamping’ experience, providing a unique and luxurious way for visitors to skip town and become truly immersed in Mudgee country.

Located a 20-minute drive from Mudgee’s town centre, the glamping accommodation is set on a 280-acre property, well insulated for warmth in winter and features floor-to-ceiling windows for the cooling summer breeze.

Rates are from $250 per night.

The ‘Tin Hares’ … built in the 1920s and part of Cruise Express’s six-day rail-and-sale tour this June.

A cruise from Brisbane to Sydney, two nights in the harbour city and a two-day rail trip back to Brisbane constitute a new rail-and-sail tour this June from Cruise Express.

The six-day itinerary features three privately chartered and restored CPH rail motors built in the 1920s and affectionately known as ‘Tin Hares’.

The tour departs Brisbane on June 3 and includes a two-night cruise to Sydney aboard the 2,000-passenger Sun Princess, two nights with daily breakfast at the historic Grace Hotel in the heart of the city, with a three-course gourmet dinner in the O Bar & Dining revolving restaurant on the 47th floor of the Australia Square building.

The rail trip back to Brisbane includes stops at the Rail Motor Society’s home at Paterson in the Hunter Valley for morning tea, Taree for lunch and Grafton for dinner at the riverside Crown Hotel, with overnight accommodation at the nearby Quality Inn.

Prices are from $1,890 per person twin-share.

Afternoon tea at the Windsor … a Melbourne Mother’s Day institution.

Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor has been a favourite for Mother’s Day for more than a century and the hotel goes out of its way to provide the best possible experience for the occasion.

The Mother’s Day afternoon tea on May 14 is priced at $129 per adult ($85 per child 7-12 years, and $65 per child 3-6 years) in either the One Eleven Spring St Dining Room or the heritage-listed Grand Ballroom.

Included is a special gift for Mum — a delicious and delicate Paris-Brest, a sweet choux pastry filled with praline cream — and a complimentary glass of French sparkling wine for all adults.

The afternoon tea is presented on three-tiered stands and complemented by an indulgent dessert buffet.

John Rozentals is a freelance writer whose passions are travel, food and wine. He lives at Molong in the Central West of NSW, from where he hosts Oz Baby Boomers, a lifestyle-resource for mature Australians, and Molong Online.

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