Hong Kong

Chance for free Hong Kong highlights with Qantas Holidays

Hong Kong light show

Jonathan Porter

When the sun turns traitor cold
And shivering trees are standing in a naked row
I get the urge for going, but I never seem to go

I could not have put it better than Joni Mitchell (in what I hope is fair use) of her song Urge for Going.

Indeed the idea of climbing on to a giant gleaming steel machine that’s just rolled off a production line in Seattle or Toulouse and going somewhere – anywhere – is upon me.

Right now, this very instant, is the best time ever to book a Qantas Holiday because if you book and pay in full for ANY Qantas Holidays package for departure by no later than 31 October 2012, you’ll get the chance to win back the full cost of your airfares (including taxes).

How it works is this: Qantas Holidays will draw a number on Thursday July 5 and if your departure date matches the winning number (1 – 31 coinciding with days of the month) they pay your airfare – anywhere in the world, on any class. To make your booking, visit your local travel agent, call 1300 656 722 or visit www.flyfreedraw.com.au

The offer is only open to Australian residents, so Lunch Magazine’s readers elsewhere can only dream of getting a free flight to such Qantas Holidays as a four-night tropical island stay or nine days in Phuket.

For Australians, most of whom – (those below the Brisbane Line) are shivering in their chilled conurbations close to the freezing ocean, it’s a great opportunity.

Personally as a proud Australian resident I’m going to get 30 of my mates together and each book a flight on a different day – that way we are sure to get at least one chance to thaw out for free.

If you’re like me – and let’s face it if you’re reading this you probably are – the idea of travel for its own sake is always an awesome idea.

The megalopolis of Hong Kong beckons me at the moment. The food and shopping are unmatched on Earth, particularly with the  dollar doing so well.

Also it’s great to go to a city where things actually work – the trains run on time, they have about six tunnels under their magnificent harbour and no one makes any fuss about it.

For me it’s a great chance to have a few quiet beers and some chilli mudcrab at Under the Bridge on Lockhardt St with various expat mates who have washed up there. This is generally followed by some more libations usually, but not exclusively, either in Wan Chai or Lan Kwai Fong or at the Foreign Correspondents Club.

I’ve been fortunate enough to go there, (to Hong Kong, not the FCC, well the club too), many times, but I’ll never forget my first time. I was in my early 20s and the lights, sounds and excitement of this amazing city hit me like a diesel coming down Mount Ousley with dodgy brakes and have stayed with me ever since – the memories, not the diesel.

Qantas Holidays has a deal from $1391, which includes fares, four nights’ accommodation on the Island, which let’s face it, is right where you want to be, at the Harbour Plaza Northpoint, high tea, transfers and a tour of Hong Kong.

Where you want to be … the Harbour Plaza Northpoint on Hong Kong Island

My Hong Kong checklist: Ride the cable car up to the Peak. Gaze across at the city and turn to your life partner and say, “Holy cow, this is awesome’’.

There is also the nightly light and laser show, The Symphony of Lights, designed by an Australian and dubbed the world’s largest permanent light and sound show. It could be a great excuse to cross over to the mainland.

Pick a bar in any of the hotels along Salisbury Rd in Kowloon with a Harbour view and make sure you have a cocktail in your hand by 8pm. Take my advice: train, there – cab back, and remember they sock you a bit extra if the meter’s over a certain amount, but the taxis are clean and quite inexpensive.

Alternatively you can watch the fun from Wan Chai on the Island, or even better, from the deck of a boat on a harbour cruise.

Shopping all done? Then duck across to Stanley, check out the markets and dine in one of the fishing town’s great seafood restaurants.

Checklist complete? Try to squeeze in a trip to the races at Happy Valley. Enjoy!

This post was brought to you by Qantas Holidays www.flyfreedraw.com.au

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