Hot Deals: Feed the sharks, pat the rays or cruise down to spot the penguins

By Victoria Bartle

UNDER $2120

Bora Bora

Watch local divers in the lagoon off Bora Bora feed reef sharks by hand, or view a large group of friendly grey rays that just love a good pat. This holiday activity, not for the faint-hearted, is on offer for $2119 a person, twin share. The package includes five nights' accommodation in Bora Bora, two nights in Papeete, return airfares from Auckland, and return flights from Papeete to Bora Bora.

This package is available for purchases made by March 31, and does not include airport taxes of around $27 a person.

Contact: Flight Centre, freephone 0800 747 474.

UNDER $18,000

Antarctica

Be escorted through the icy splendour of Antarctica and stopover in Buenos Aires and Santiago along the way, from $17,990 a person.

Twelve nights of this 19-night  tour are aboard a cruise liner and you will visit the spectacular Tierra del Fuego National Park, South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula, and the Antarctic Circle.

This escorted tour departs from Auckland with air travel to Buenos Aires on January 9 next year. Add on $100 a person for taxes.

Contact: House of Travel, freephone 0800 838 747.

Under $100 FOR TWO

Italy

Be in Rome for Easter to see the Pope lead the annual torch-lit procession, the Via Crucis, from the Colosseum. This re-enacts the 14 Stations of the Cross, from Jesus' death sentence to the placement of his body in the tomb.

Each year, tens of thousands of people gather with torches and lights to follow this solemn Good Friday procession.

Twin-room accommodation is also available in Rome at the three-star Arcadia Hotel. Buffet breakfasts are included, and the accommodation is priced from $99 a night for two people. Flights from New Zealand can be arranged also.

Contact: Flight Centre Hotels, freephone 0800 326 654.

On the web: www.flightcentrehotels.co.nz (link below)

UNDER $500 

Australia

Seven nights on Australia's Gold Coast with return airfares flying Royal Brunei are priced from $499 a person, twin share. Flights depart three times a week from Auckland and travel must be taken by March 6 or, for some accommodation packages, March 31.

Departure taxes are about $180 a person.

Contact: Itchyfeet Travel, (09) 353 2626, email info@itchyfeet.co.nz (link below)

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