Australia is a vast and diversified country where visitors can tour vineyards set among dun-colored hills and drive cattle across a dusty trail. Your clients can dive over the legendary Great Barrier Reef or strap on skis to tackle a “beaut” slope in Tasmania.
“Travel costs are rising and global currencies are fluctuating, and this can mean higher prices for the average traveler,” says John Parker, CEO Fresh Tracks Travel. “Rather than limiting the availability of packages offered for next year while new prices are configured, Fresh Tracks wants to encourage people to book ahead – and by offering some of next year’s packages at this year’s rates, we’re giving the incentive to do so.”
On applicable classic packages, the savings can be up to $1,000 a couple. The Australian Cities by Rail is a popular train vacation combining Australia’s favorite cities (Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, and Melbourne) with landscapes and activities accessible only by train. Two people could save $600 on their 2008 vacation.
High-end travelers interested in more luxurious packages can save even more by making the savvy decision to book sooner rather than later. The Red Center, Rainforest and Reef is an inclusive resort tour of the most scenic regions of the country from the Coast to the Outback, and couples will save more than $1,200 without sacrificing comfort or style.
Even short city-breaks and add-on packages feature great savings, with special offers on mini-breaks to cities and beyond. A four-night adventure such as the Outback National Parks Safari costs $2,543 today, but with typical inflation and currency changes it could rise to nearly $2,800 for dates in 2009.
Driving on their Own DownUnder
At Goway Travel, a leading North American wholesaler, self-drive programs are gaining popularity and as such have been expanded to more than 160 pre-planned itineraries for 2008. All travelers on Goway's pre-set self-drive itineraries also receive a special co-pilot backpack which includes their detailed itinerary, maps and guides
"A self-drive vacation is the perfect opportunity to really get to know the destination and of course the friendly Aussie and Kiwis", commented Emma Cottis, Product and Marketing Manager of Goway Travel. "We plan tours for all styles of travelers, from motel accommodation to a farm stay or bed & breakfast to upmarket boutique accommodations. Because everything is booked in advance, travelers can relax and enjoy the scenery and attractions enroute." One of Goway's most popular Australian self-drive itineraries is the Pacific Coast Explorer priced from $1,815 per person double. Travelers can choose from 7, 9 or 14-day duration in economy or first class accommodations.
Also gaining popularity is the 5-day Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive. Incorporating sleepy fishing villages, spectacular coastal scenery and National Parks, this itinerary offers the opportunity to meet local Aussies and see some of Australia’s picturesque landscapes and can be combined with other self drives or other destinations in Australia.
Railing Across Aussieland
Australia’s signature trains cover the length and breadth of the country, offering a truly premium train experience. They are a satisfying way to explore this sprawling land, offering comfortable compartments, elegant dining cars and convivial lounge cars. Even their names conjure images of exciting adventures: “The Indian Pacific,” “The Sunlander” and “The Ghan.” Clients can try one or sample all three, with new packages available from Experience Australia, the newest travel division of The Great Canadian Travel Company Ltd.
Travelers may choose point-to-point fares for single journeys or choose from a variety of passes ranging from a 15- to 22-day “all system” pass allowing unlimited travel throughout the network, to “route passes” valid for travel on a single east-coast route over a six-month period.
The Indian Pacific: spans Australia from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, from Sydney to Perth, covering 2,704 miles, including the longest stretch of straight track in the world—297 miles through the Nullarbor Plain. As it travels ocean-to-ocean, “The Indian Pacific” passes through the Blue Mountains, the rugged Outback and the historic town of Broken Hill. Prices range from Red Seat $629 to Red Cabin $1,219 and Gold Cabin $1,649. The Sunlander runs between Brisbane and Cairns, this delightful two-day journey provides a leisurely passage to tropical Queensland. Relax as the train weaves its way north to Cairns, where rain forest meets the barrier reef. Prices range from Economy Seat $199, First Class Berth $379, The Queenslander $689.
When the Ghan train first departed from Adelaide to Alice Springs, it was always intended that the rail line continue to the port city of Darwin. Now, some 70 years later, the journey takes travelers through the heart of the continent. Two nights are spent on board this twice-weekly train, with the option to stop over in Alice Springs for a few days and experience the true Australian Outback. Prices range from Red Seat at $639 to Red Cabin $1,279 or Gold Cabin $1,769.
Call 800-661-3830; www.experience-australia.com