According to Air Tahiti Nui (tel. 877/824-4846; www.airtahitinui-usa.com), the time has come to consider some multi-destination travel in the South Pacific. The airline, in conjunction with vacation packager Travelscene (tel. 866/914-4465; www.travelscene.com) is running a special called the Air Tahiti Pacific Pass, valid for round-trip airfares priced from $999 from Los Angeles for flights to Sydney, Australia, Auckland, New Zealand and Papeete, Tahiti. In order to receive the special price, you must book at least six nights/seven days at any combination of Starwood Hotels and Resorts in the South Pacific. It's up to you to decide how long you want to spend in each of the three destinations, but the overall visit cannot last longer than 60 days.
Here are the rest of the caveats. This $999 special, which started on June 1, is valid for the first 200 people who book it, but you must book by June 30 for travel through October 31. Government taxes are not included. If you aren't one of those lucky 200 people, never fear. There is another option: you can pay $1,099, which includes your airfare to and from these three destinations, but not the hotel accommodations. Nevertheless, it's still a good option. A seven-day minimum stay is required. If you want to depart from New York, it will only cost you an additional $99; Air Tahiti now flies from JFK airport nonstop three times a week to Papeete, Tahiti.
There are plenty of activities to amuse travelers in these three destinations: water sports, diving, swimming, sailing and surfing come to mind immediately, especially diving and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. Adventurous types might consider putting Queenstown, New Zealand on their radar for things like tandem skydiving. New Zealand and Australia's cities are dynamic, and their respective countrysides are replete with wine tour opportunities, among other options. Upon perusing the Travelscene web site, you may notice there are other Pacific Passes available that are customized to specific destinations and activities -- if you're willing to spend a little more money.
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