The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, seven nights' accommodations, transfers, airfare within Australia, a Sydney Opera House tour, and a Colonial Tramcar tour and dinner in Melbourne, from $1,879 per person—plus an estimated $145 in taxes.
When: Daily through March 31, 2009.
Gateways: L.A.; add $220 for Seattle, $280 for Chicago, $300 for New York City, $310 for Atlanta, and $360 for Boston; additional cities available.
The fine print: Does not include airport taxes and fees of about $145 per person. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $529. When booking, use code TS2797. U.S. citizens will need a valid passport for travel; a visa (about $17) is also required. See our Australian visa advice here. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: Nov. 30, 2008.
Contact: Travelscene, 800/345-3504, travelscene.com.
Why it's a deal: This trip begins in Melbourne and ends in Sydney. We priced out a round-trip multi-city itinerary on Kayak for late October (L.A. to Melbourne, Melbourne to Sydney, Sydney to L.A.). The lowest fare was $1,362 on United/Qantas. For an additional $662 including taxes, Travelscene takes care of the all the flights as well as seven nights' accommodations, a Sydney Opera House tour ($35 AUD per person, or about $29 U.S.) and a dinner aboard the Colonial Tramcar (anywhere between $58 U.S. and $108 U.S. per person).
Bonus: If you are one of the first 100 people to book this trip, you will receive Austral$500 ($419) in spending money per reservation. You must book by Oct. 31, 2008, and mention the Do The Math Australia promotion in addition to the TS2797 trip code.
Trip details: The Hot Nights & City Sights package begins with an overnight flight on Qantas to Melbourne and a transfer to your hotel.
You'll check in to the Mantra on Jolimont, your base for three nights. The 133-room hotel has studios, one-bedroom apartments, a pool, and a gym. It's across the street from Melbourne Cricket Ground and Rod Laver Arena, and also close to the Botanic Gardens and the Victorian Arts Centre.
You're free to explore Melbourne on your own. The only included activity is dinner and drinks at the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, which glides through the streets of Melbourne.
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After three nights in Melbourne, you'll hop on a 90-minute flight to Sydney (airline depends on availability at time of booking) and check in to the Travelodge Wynyard Sydney Hotel. The 270-room hotel has a restaurant and a gym, and it's close to The Rocks, Australia's first European settlement, which dates to 1788. It's now a lively neighborhood with shops, bars, and restaurants.
A tour of the Sydney Opera House (also close to your hotel) is included. You'll get to see inside the unique structure, one of Australia's most recognizable sights.
Can't get enough? You can book additional nights in both Sydney and Melbourne; as of press time, a quote for the cost per night was not available.
A free $125 prepaid Visa card on Australian trips
If you book one of Intrepid Travel's 32 Australia packages by October 31, you'll receive a Austral$150 (or about $125) prepaid Visa card for spending.
One trip that caught our eye was a three-night excursion to Kangaroo Island. You'll meet the group in Adelaide, where you'll visit Penfolds Magill Estate Winery. Then you'll ferry over to Kangaroo Island, which is often touted as one of the last unspoiled parts of the world. The island is home to its namesake animal, as well as koalas, echidnas, and fur seals. You'll spend a few days exploring Flinders Chase National Park with your guide. Three nights' accommodations (two nights in a hotel and one in a lodge), some meals, and ground transportation by bus are included; $1,000 per person.
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