The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.
This week's Smart Deal takes you down under, with two ways to save. You can opt for a package from $1,299 for a week or select airfare priced from $399 one way. Whatever you choose, the deal will have you walking about for a week (tel. 800/562-5223; www.australia.com/promotions/oneweekwalkabout_us.aspx), provided you book by February 1.
For the airfare special, offered in conjunction with Qantas, select among Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane. Travel from either San Francisco or Los Angeles. The lowest advertised one-way fare, $399, is valid for travel May 1-June 8 and then again July 24-September 21; round trip fare is $798. If you want to travel February 7-April 30, the price is $499 one-way or $998 round-trip. Round-trip fares include taxes along with fuel and insurance charges.
If you'd rather book an entire vacation package, any one of the three cities are available in conjunction with Goway Travel from $1,299 for roundtrip airfare and five nights of accommodations. But there are more trips within each destination. For example, you can explore Brisbane and the Gold Coast -- perfect if you want to spend some time on these famous beaches. A car rental and some sightseeing options are included. Or spend the whole time in the city itself, and have your airport-hotel transfers covered along with entrance to the Australia Zoo. If Sydney is more your speed, there's an option for four nights in the city itself and one night at a hotel in the Blue Mountains -- where you can go on a bushwalk. Melbourne packages are geared toward city stays, time on the Great Ocean Road -- a lovely coastal drive (and, naturally, two days with a rental car), or the Yarra Valley wine region.