Tuesday 21 October 2014

Great Escapes: Kiwi dronies, Game of Thrones tours and hot travel deals...

Published 10/08/2014 | 02:30

Dronies on New Zealand's South Island.
Dark Hedges: The Borough of Antrim has something for everyone
Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny

Stay tuned in travel with Pól Ó Conghaile's Weekend Magazine column.

DEPARTURES

First we had selfies. Then we had 'usfies'. But has Tourism New Zealand jumped the shark entirely with its 'dronies'?

The tourism body has invested in a travelling drone to snap holidaymakers at six South Island destinations. Tourists in hotspots like Queenstown, Mount Cook and Coronet Peak now have the opportunity to star in an eight-second video that starts off with a tight crop before zooming out to reveal the surrounding landscape.

"Everyone's doing [selfies]," Tourism New Zealand's CEO Kevin Bowler has said. "Even the PM's doing selfies these days. But the idea was really about how to sell New Zealand landscapes across the social space." You can check some of the dronies out using #NZdronie on social media.

ROOM WITH A VIEW

'Game of Thrones' Series 5 may be done and dusted, but the spin-offs are showing no sign of slowing down in Northern Ireland. Much of the HBO series was shot on location at spectacular landscapes like the Giant's Causeway, Ballintoy Harbour and the Dark Hedges , and several coach tours are up and running for 
Westeros junkies.

Now, Holiday Inn has launched the first GoT city break. Two nights' B&B in Belfast, one dinner, and a location tour with City Tours Belfast start from £130/€163pp;
discovernorthernireland.com/gameofthrones

DEALS OF THE WEEK:

BARGAIN: Sun deals are scarce as hens' teeth this month, with low supply and high demand dovetailing into a perfect storm for last-minute bargain hunters. Going to press, however, Falcon had flights from Shannon to Lanzarote, with seven nights 3-star accommodation, from €455pp departing August 25; falconholidays.ie

SPLASH: If you can hold off on your hols till September or October, the value comes springing back. Sunway has a week in Cuba during those months from €1,049pp, all-inclusive; sunway.ie.

STAYCATION: Wanna holiday at home? The four-star Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny has a summer sizzler from €229pps. It includes four nights' B&B and dinner on two evenings for a family of four. There's an added activity voucher, too; flynnhotels.com

SMART TRAVEL:

Rather than start your holiday search with a destination, why not start with the airline? A quick trawl through Ryanair's best fares over September, for example, turns up flights from Dublin to Nice from €25.99 each way. Worth a look?

Irish Independent

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