Clear blue vision in Samoa: 2020

Considered one of Samoa's most photogenic spots, the To Sua Ocean Trench is an aquamarine lagoon fed by the sea through underwater rock tunnels and exotically fringed by drooping vines and lush moss. Access the lagoon by carefully climbing down a giant wooden ladder to a small pier, then take a dip and look up at the sky and the birdlife in the cliff-face foliage that encapsulates the lagoon. Five-night Samoa holidays are priced from $919pp from Auckland or from $1079 for travel from Wellington or Christchurch. Airport transfers and tropical daily breakfasts are included. Book by August 26. Travel between February4and March 31. Flights are with Air New Zealand.
Contact: FlightCentre, 0800 427 555 or

Australia: The best of the West

Check into Mantra on the Murray — one of Perth's most central hotels — and revel in the tastes and smells of the 10-day-long Western Australia Gourmet Escape food and wine festival. This foodies' delight is highly anticipated every year and brings together chefs, sommeliers and food critics to host more than 50 events in locations throughout Perth, the Margaret River and Swan Valley. Experience the Gourmet Feast in the Valley portion of the festival, priced from $249pp, double-share, which includesageneral admission ticket for November 9 and two nights' accommodation. Packages valid for travel between November 8 and 18. Book by September 26.
Contact: helloworld Travel, 0800 303 132 or

Moor than anticipated

Discover ornate palaces, spice markets and the warmth of the Mediterranean on a 16-day tour, simply and aptly named "Spain, Morocco and Portugal". Wander down Madrid's Gran Via, visit the exquisite Alhambra Palace and learn the art of haggling in the labyrinthine Medina. Only on this itinerary will you get to visit a stud farm and enjoy a traditional home-cooked lunch with locals, Tiago and Vera, in Portugal's beautiful Alentejo. Next year's departures are discounted by 10 per cent to $4365pp if your booking is made by August 31 this year.
Contact: your own travel agent or Trafalgar, 0800 484 333 or

Kids stay, play and eat for free

Holidays at Plantation Island Resort in Fiji, over a variety of travel periods, are on offer — and you get to choose the type of room you'd like for your five-night stay. There are poolside rooms, garden terrace rooms, ocean bures or ocean view hotel rooms, and all packages come with daily breakfast at the buffet. A five-night package for two adults and two children aged under 12 is priced from $859pp, twin share, and children to stay, play and eat all meals free of charge. Airfares from New Zealand are additional. Book by August 30.
Contact: Our Pacific, 0800 500 598 or


Boxing Day at Melbourne Cricket Ground

As cricket enthusiasts undoubtedly know, New Zealand's Black Caps are taking on the Aussie cricketers in this year's prestigious Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the first time since 1987. A three-night accommodation package comes with tickets for Days 1 and 2 in the Category D seating area. The price starts at $499pp, twin share. Book by October 14. Travel between December 25 and 28. Flights from New Zealand are additional.
Contact: House of Travel, 0800 713 715 or

Trip Notes: Shortland Street's Michael Galvin on how it felt to seek fame and fortune in London... and ultimately fail

Trip Notes: Michael Galvin on London's calling

We discuss travel missteps and misadventures with Shortland Street's Michael Galvin in the latest episode of our Trip Notes travel podcast

Subscribe to Trip Notes, Herald Travel's new podcast, at iHeartRadio, Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. For more travel inspiration, go to

Flight deals

International deals

Sydney for $270 return

Two weeks in Indiana for $1600 return

Prices accurate as of 19th August 2019, using historic Skyscanner from the last 12 months. Seats and price depend on availability.