Six highlights in your travel week | 20 July

Brouhaha brewer Matt Jancauskas shows off his product … craft beer is becoming an important part of the Sunshine Coast’s tourism mix.
Brouhaha brewer Matt Jancauskas shows off his product … craft beer is becoming an important part of the Sunshine Coast’s tourism mix.

Craft beer has brewed up a new market niche for the Sunshine Coast’s tourism sector, with its emerging profile recognised officially recently with the beachside Moffat Beach Brewing Co being named the Champion Small Brewer of Australia at Sydney’s annual BrewCon awards.

It also took home two gold medals, as did Maleny-based Brouhaha, while there were silvers for Macleod Brewing Co in Maleny, Sunshine Brewery and Land & Sea in Noosa.

Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours’ Josh Donohoe said that the area’s craft-brewing scene had expanded dramatically over the past three years and had become an increasingly important attraction for Sunshine Coast holiday goers.

He said BrewCon’s ‘Will Travel for Beer’ section highlighted how craft beer can add a distinct ‘taste’ to a region’s tourism offer, and complement the destination’s other food and natural attractions.

Visit Sunshine Coast CEO, Simon Latchford, said that food, wine and beer were a major focus of the region’s tourism marketing, with the Sunshine Coast one of Australia’s richest agricultural producers.

Watch your footing … life’s a real adventure at Trees Adventure.

Watch your footing … life’s a real adventure at Trees Adventure.

There are plenty of family-oriented activities available in Western Australia’s Peel region, and its major city, Mandurah, about hour south of Perth.

Mandurah is the state’s largest and fastest-growing regional city and is set against a backdrop of magnificent beaches and an estuary twice the size of Sydney Harbour.

Among the choices are:

— Take to the trees on a forest obstacle course. Climb along wobbling bridges, through cargo nets and across zip lines at Trees Adventure near Dwellingup.

— Be a zookeeper for a day at the Peel Zoo, in Pinjarra. Experience handling, feeding and how to care for over 100 animals, including Tasmanian devils.

— Travel on a train through the forest aboard the Hotham Valley Railway steam train, in Dwellingup, or along the foreshore aboard the Mandurah Tourist Train.

— Get back to nature at the Forest Discovery Centre. Enjoy forest walks, a viewing platform, nature play, art and craft tables, microscopes and a touch table.

— Explore by horseback along a scenic trail through the beautiful Darling Ranges with Langford Hill Riding Farm in Waroona.

Hands on … a group participates in a class at the Sydney Seafood School.

Hands on … a group participates in a class at the Sydney Seafood School.

Located at Sydney Fish Market, the Sydney Seafood School, which has been teaching keen home cooks to prepare fresh Aussie seafood in a multitude of ways for almost 30 years, has just released the line-up of its hands-on cooking classes for the colder months.

Many of the city’s leading chefs impart the tricks of their trade at weeknight classes and weekend workshops, and there is a selection of ongoing favourites such as teaching the basics of Singaporean classics like chilli crab and black pepper crab, Spain’ seafood paella spiked with smoky paprika and sweet piquillo peppers, and Moroccan fish-and-vegetable tagine.

This winter the school is offering a book-for-six-pay-for-four group discount for all classes.

Phone (02) 9004 1111 or visit www.sydneyfishmarket.com.au

Walking the Laugavegur Trail … crossing the third biggest geothermal zone in the world.

Walking the Laugavegur Trail … crossing the third biggest geothermal zone in the world.

If you are short on time, UTracks’ five-day walk along Iceland’s most well known hiking trail could be in your potential travel mix.

Book now for selected August departures this year and save $100 per person on UTracks’ guided Laugavegur Trail hike.

The trail crosses the third biggest geothermal zone in the world, where steaming hot springs are dotted through a landscape of yellow rhyolite mountains and black deserts.

Highlights include climbing old volcanoes, plunging into glacial lakes, walking through ice caves and soaking in a hot spring thermal bath.

With the discount the hike is priced at $3050 per person twin-share, and includes meals (four breakfasts, five lunches, four dinners), four nights in mountain huts on a multi-share basis, an experienced English-speaking walking guide, cooking gear, daily luggage transfers and transport to and from the capital, Reykjavik.

Phone 1300 303 368 or visit www.utracks.com

Countryside reminiscent of The Sound of Music … walking through Austrian meadows.

Countryside reminiscent of The Sound of Music … walking through Austrian meadows.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of a broken organ in an Austrian church leading to the creation of the most popular Christmas carol of all time.

Legend has it that on Christmas Eve, 1818, at Oberndorf, a village outside Salzburg, it was discovered that mice had chewed through the bellows of the church organ.

The choirmaster hurriedly wrote Silent Night to be played on a guitar instead, and since then the carol has become a firm favourite all over the world, with translations into more than 300 languages.

Austria is celebrating the anniversary this year with dedicated tours, a special exhibition at Salzburg Museum and a musical based on the carol.

After or before attending these events, Australians can enjoy a self-guided, inn-to-inn walk offered by On Foot Holidays, traversing Austrian meadows, woods and charming villages.

Located in the Bregenzerwald region in western Austria, the seven-night itinerary aims to provide a true Austrian experience but caters for ordinary walkers rather than the super-fit.

Included in the package is the use of cable cars which can assist walkers in the final ascent, which will offer stunning views of the five 2000-metre peaks around the Damuls valley, enabling them to look back on how far they have journeyed over the past six days.

Including accommodation, all breakfasts, six dinners, cable car services, and all luggage transfers, the Austrian walk costs about $1720. Bookings made before September 30 will secure 2018 prices on all 32 On Foot Holidays routes for 2019.

The Dnipro Dneiper River bridge … crosses an ancient trade route lined with rich cultural treasures.

The Dnipro Dneiper River bridge … crosses an ancient trade route lined with rich cultural treasures.

Viking has cut prices on 2019 sailings its 11-day Kiev-to-the-Black-Sea river cruise between Kiev and Odessa.

The new price is from $5595 per person twin-share and includes return economy flights.

Guests will cruise the Dnieper River to the Black Sea, an ancient trade route lined with rich cultural treasures, onion-domed churches and rural folkways that recall the days of Vikings, Tatars and Cossacks.

Phone 138 747 or visit www.vikingcruises.com.au