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24

| BNE November/December 2016

Eric Webb knows from experience some of the best views of Far North Queensland

are from the air and now the pilot who once mustered cattle from a chopper

has launched a charter tour business to share those views with others. “My own

favourite day’s flying is when the blue of the Great Barrier Reef contrasts against the

green of the Wet Tropics rainforest and the red of the Gulf Savannah,” says Webb,

so he created the Signature Tour Series to show off the diversity of the landscape

to visitors. For example, the Colours of North Queensland flight soars above the

peaks of Bartle Frere and Bellenden Ker, swoops into the Johnston River Gorge

and includes a guided tour of the world’s longest lava tubes at Undara Volcanic

National Park, then it’s back to the rainforest and the remote Blencoe Falls as well

as Australia’s highest single drop waterfall at Wallaman Falls before returning to

Cairns over Hinchinbrook Island, Dunk Island and the Great Barrier Reef. Short

trips take in places such as the little-used Wangetti Beach between Palm Cove and

Port Douglas. Tours range from 30 minutes to five hours or more and carry three to

nine passengers. See

www.helitoursnq.com.au

ESCAPE EXTRA

Fly direct between Brisbane and Cairns with

Jetstar, Qantas, Tigerair and Virgin Australia

Fly direct from Brisbane to Vancouver with Air

Canada for onward connections in Canada

Indian safari

Once a checkpoint on any backpacker’s world safari India, and Rajasthan

in particular, is the new go-to for five-star wildlife safaris. Asia travel

specialists Insider Journeys has unveiled a range of glamping experiences

to view India’s wildlife up close – including a chance to see the elusive

Bengal tiger from the Khem Villas in the Ranthambore National Park,

Rajasthan. Crocodiles, jackals, hyenas, desert fox and jungle cats also

come out to view from the camp’s wild grasslands. Accommodation is

provided in tents built using natural local materials such as bamboo to

blend in seamlessly with the environment. Alternatively, Chhatra Sagar

is an oasis famous for birdwatching with more than 200 species seen on

its lake and camel treks are the way to spot wildlife and visit local villages

from Manvar or Osian Desert Camps. See

www.insiderjourneys.com.au

inCanada

While the rest of Australia goes skiing in Whistler,

more intrepid travellers can enjoy winter in Canada

and mingle with the locals by detouring to one of

the cool carnivals across the country. For foodies

Winterlicious

in Toronto is a gourmand’s delight

as more than 200 of the city’s best restaurants

offer up creative cuisine in fixed price menus

and the program bursts with cooking classes,

tastings, pairings, demonstrations, dinner theatre

performances and intimate chef dinners from

27 January to 10 February 2017. For adventurers,

canoes race across the ice-choked St. Lawrence

River and back during

QuebecWinter Carnival

from 27 January to 12 February, a dogsled race

winds through the narrow, snowy streets of the

Old City and there’s skating in the shadow of the

ramparts of the only walled city north of Mexico.

Or strap on some skates on the world’s largest ice

rink, the Rideau Canal (

pictured

), almost 8km long,

in Canada’s capital Ottawa where the country’s

150th birthday celebrations will take off with a bang

from 3 February and keep sizzling for more than two

weeks during

Winterlude

. Fireworks, sleigh rides,

tobogganing, snow sculptures, a snow maze and the

Winter Brewfest are all part of the fun. For intrepid

wanderers the

Yukon Quest

dog sled race takes off

fromWhitehorse in Yukon Territory on 4 February

for the 1600km race to Fairbanks, Alaska across the

icy wilderness of northwest Canada. Think you can

brave the 40 below zero temperatures to watch

competitors in their quest to share in more than

$120,000 in prize money? For entertainment lovers

music, circus arts and theatre are in the spotlight

for

Montréal en Lumière

which takes over the

Quartiers des Spectacles from 23 February to 12

March. Find out more at

www.keepexploring.ca

Gethigh inthefarnorth

Fly direct from Brisbane to Abu Dhabi with Etihad

Airways for onward connections to Jaipur, Rajasthan

Winterlude