News: Tourists fly south for winter

All aboard for Russian experience

Above the Equator the nights are already drawing in - and, for southern hemisphere destinations, bookings are rolling in. The coming northern winter could offer the best value yet for travellers aiming for Australasia, as airlines continue to increase capcacity. Cathay Pacific has announced an extra daily flight to Sydney from its base of Hong Kong, starting at the end of October, with easy connections from the UK to Australia's largest city.

Prices are being forced down by strong competition from other Far East airlines; Korean Air is selling a Heathrow-Sydney return for departures between 21 August and 2 December for just £583 through Trailfinders, with free stopovers in Seoul. Japan Airlines is also offering very low fares for flights via Tokyo.

Among travellers seeking an escape from the northern winter, New Zealand has seen a steady increase in visitor numbers in the past two years. Partly this was due to the Lord of the Rings effect; the director Peter Jackson's trilogy of Tolkein tales was filmed in the South Island. But according to Arran Sutherland, air product manager for Quest Travel, UK travellers are becoming more adventurous: "Repeat visitors are getting into less obvious regions, such as the southern end of the North Island and the northern end of the South Island." Sutherland's company has launched a stand-alone brochure to meet demand; previously, New Zealand had shared space with Australia.

In South America, Argentina is excellent value, but British travellers find they are competing for space with US visitors. If there is no room at the hacienda, Chile is a possible alternative, according to Richard Laker of South American Experience: "The so-called 'frontier territory' is opening up."

Trailfinders: 020-7938 3939;

Quest Travel: 0870 444 5552;

South American Experience: 020-7976 5511;

All aboard for Russian experience

As the "White Nights" of St Petersburg draw to a close, the overnight rail service between the past and present Russian capitals has been enhanced. The Red Arrow train between Moscow and St Petersburg has acquired a deluxe carriage. Each of four state-rooms costs just over 10,000 roubles (£200) for two adults and any children under the age of 12.

Frills include flat-screen television, all-night room service and a shower cubicle - this is said to be "somewhat simple in nature" but is a first on the route.

The Red Arrow leaves both cities at one minute to midnight and takes just over eight hours to complete its journey. It remains the most prestigious of over a dozen night trains between Russia's two main cities, and has served the route since the Tsarist era. Before the revolution, a brass band would signal its departure from St Petersburg by playing "God Save the Tsar". Under Communism this was replaced by a recording of the Soviet national anthem. The train now leaves St Petersburg to Reinhold Gliere's "Anthem To A Mighty City", but arrives in Moscow to "Moskva-Moskva!", a rock-patriotic hit by "naughty-boy" showbiz star Oleg Gazmanov.

The Red Arrow's rivals include the "Nikolaevsky Express", which features liveried train personnel in replica uniforms of the Tsarist era, while "The Express" offers uniformed on-board security guards who march around and salute everyone.

people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
voicesBy the man who has
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    Day In a Page

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?