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They’re off … the start of the world’s largest long-distance canoe race.

If you’re thinking of heading for Hawaii later this year, try to get to Kona, on the Big Island between August 30 and September 2 for the 42nd annual Queen Lili’uokalani Long Distance Outrigger Canoe Races— the world’s largest long distance canoe race.
And if you can’t make those dates, go anyway — to snorkel with turtles, sail around Captain Cook’s resting place, ascend 14,000 feet to the world’s largest collection of telescopes, walk through stunning rainforest or simply relax and enjoy some of the world’s best coffee.
Visitwww.kaiopua.orgfor race information and www.gohawaii.com/big-island for general information on the Big Island.

Live it up in Las Vegas, visit the Grand Canyon and island hop through Hawaii on Cruise1st’s 17-night fly-stay-and-cruise package departing October 18.
Prices start at $3299 per person twin-share, including return airfare, including three nights in Las Vegas, canyon tour, flight to San Diego for a night there before joining Celebrity Cruises’ luxury ship Celebrity Millennium for an 11-night voyage visiting Maui, Kauai, Hilo, Mount Kilauea, Kailua Kona and Honolulu.
Upgrade to an outside stateroom for an extra $300 by April 15 and enjoy one of the following — $300 on-board credit per cabin, a free drinks package on the cruise or free gratuities.
Phone 1300 596 345 or visit www.cruise1st.com.au.

Mercure Resort Gerringong by the Sea — on the ocean between Wollongong and Nowra and formerly known as Bellachara Boutique Hotel — has launched a series of yoga spa retreats.
The program includes a day of yoga, meditation, luxury spa treatments, a guided beach walk and delicious, healthy food, with prices from $346 per person.
Accommodation-inclusive prices start from $464 per person twin-share per night.
Phone 02 4234 1359 or visit www.mercure.com.

Victoria’s Gippslandregion has been handed a particularly tough time this year by some fearsome bushfires, but has been the all clear to resume tourist activity.
And there’s certainly plenty to do — horse-riding trails, sailing and fishing, new audio-guided experiences and walking tracks, and a new 1.5-kilometre mountain-bike descent that takes just two adrenalin-charged minutes.
Visit www.inspiredbygippsland.com.au.

Holland America Line has allocated seven ships for the 2014 Alaska cruise season, sailing seven- and 14-night itineraries out of Seattle and Vancouver.
The 1916-guest MSOosterdam has been transferred to sail the Glacier Discovery itinerary between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska, while MS Amsterdam will feature rarer ports and majestic scenic sailing that includes both Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm Fjord.
Seven-day Alaska Inside Passage cruises start at $722 per person twin-share, 14-day Alaskan Explorer voyages at $1927.
Phone1300 987 322 or visit www.hollandamerica.com.au.

Mama Shelter kicked off a couple of years ago when it opened a super-trendy hotel in Paris’s historic but super-untrendy Saint Blaise district.
I can personally vouch for the class it delivers and I’m not surprised that it has expanded by opening properties in Marseille and Lyon. Its latest addition stretches across French borders to Istanbul, where it has opened a hotel on the formerly fashionable but distinctly untouristy though now vibrant IstiklalCaddesi.
Rates start at 79 euros per couple and if my Paris experience is anything to go by, search it out. Visit www.mamashelter.com.

Sydney Harbour will host an armada of 53 naval vessels and tall ships on October 5 to mark the Royal Australian Navy’s Centennial Fleet Review.
Cruise Express has chartered a deluxe harbour vessel, Sydney Glass Island, which offers 360-degree water views, for a special, all-inclusive, four-hour dinner cruise that evening — culminating in a spectacular fireworks and light show.
The cruise is priced at $199 per head and there is also a two-night Grace Hotel accommodation package available for $475 per room.
Phone 1300 557 941 or visit www.cruiseexpress.com.au.

P&O’s 2014 Europe program includes basing a ship in the Mediterranean right through the northern summerfor the first time.
The 3200-passenger Ventura will sail on a series of seven- and 14-night cruises from late March to October.
Fares start from $1749 per person twin-share for a 14-night round-trip cruise ex-Venice exploring the coastline of Italy, Greece and Croatia.

Save $400 on Travel Associate’s 14-night Eastern European imperial capitals tour.
Pay from $5545 per person twin-share, including three nights in Istanbul and an 11-night Danube cruise to Vienna on board the River Princess.
Includes most meals, complimentary wine and beer during lunch and dinner on the cruise, captain’s welcome and farewell dinners, one economy flight from Istanbul to Bucharest, 13 shore excursions and transfers.
Book by April 30. Departures April 18, June 25 and October 3.
Phone 1800 044 066 or visit www.travel-associates.com.au.

Stay right in the heart of the action at Mantra French Quarter for the tenth annual Noosa International Food and Wine Festival.
Pay from $221 per night for a one-bedroom apartment, from $280 per night for a two-bedroom apartment. Two nights minimum stay.
Recently renovated property includes a heated lagoon-style pool with two spas, a sauna and children’s wading pool, babysitting service and 24-hour reception.
May 16-19.Call 131 517 or visit www.mantra.com.au. For festival details and tickets visit www.noosafoodandwine.com.au.

Your partner travels for free on Tempo Holidays’ 11-day Wonders of Egypt tour.
Pay from $3200 per couple ex Cairo, for an independent journey that includes a four-night Nile cruise.
Includes 10 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners, private transfers, group sightseeing with an Egyptologist during the Nile cruise, private touring in Cairo and Alexandria, sightseeing entrance fees, and flights from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan to Cairo.
Book by April 30 for travel until September 22.
Phone 1300 558 987 or visit www.tempoholidays.com.

Get a free trans-Tasman flight when you combine Australian and New Zealand holidays with youth-oriented Topdeck.
Pay, for instance, from $2595 for a 14-day Island Suntanner from Sydney to Cairns and from $1355 for a nine-day Pure Adrenalin from Christchurch to Wellington.
Includes adventures such as overnight sailing in the Whitsundays, bungy jumping in Queenstown and a cruise in Fiordland National Park.
Book by April 30 for travel before December 1.
Phone 1300 886 332 or visit www.topdeck.travel.

*John Rozentals is the publisher and editor ofwww.ozbabyboomers.com.au, a lifestyle resource for mature Australians.