With people still a little skittish about summer travel to Europe (thanks to high airfares and volcanic eruptions), why not change the pace entirely? Virgin Vacations (tel. 888/937-8474; www.virginvacations.com) is running a special Australia deal that sends you to Sydney and Melbourne for six nights.
So, you're thinking, wait a minute: It's winter there, why should I go? Well, the winter isn't typically too harsh in Sydney. The weather in Melbourne can be a bit more unpredictable in winter, but it's not nearly as cold as northern U.S. winters.
What can you do? Multicultural Melbourne is known for its great restaurants, cafes, and shopping -- plus you'll want to check out several of Melbourne's hot new neighborhoods. While in Sydney, you won't want to miss the beautiful harbor (and an iconic bridge to boot), world-class museums, and the billowing white sails of the Opera House.
This package includes three nights in Sydney at the Macleay Serviced Apartments, which is within walking distance of most major landmarks. You'll spend the next three nights in Melbourne at the Victoria Melbourne All Seasons, which is also well-situated in terms of access to attractions. You can, of course, upgrade your hotels, starting from an additional $90 per person.
Trip Type: Air-inclusive; independent
What the Quoted Price Gets You: Flights from Los Angeles to Sydney (returning from Melbourne); airfare from Sydney to Melbourne; hotel taxes and service charges; three nights each in Sydney and in Melbourne; and fuel surcharges.
What Else You'll Have to Pay: Airport taxes and fees, which can range up to about $160 per person.
When: June and July (from $1,179); Aug. 1-Sept. 21 (from $1,219).
Book By: As soon as possible to ensure availability
Other Details: The package is available through March 2011, with peak prices during our winter (their summer). If you don't live near Los Angeles but still want to take advantage of this package, aim for another Virgin America gateway (Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C., Ft. Lauderdale or New York-JFK) for the best fare to connect to Los Angeles to Virgin Australia.
During the booking process, you'll see that many add-ons are possible, such as airport-hotel transfers, guided tours of Melbourne ($76 per person), excursions such as a guided tour of Sydney, lunch cruise, and a trip to the Taronga Zoo ($152 per person), and more.
All prices are per person and, if lodging is a component of the package, based upon two people traveling together (unless otherwise noted). The prices listed are general starting rates; see "What Else You'll Have to Pay" for details about associated taxes and fees. Base-prices, taxes, and fees can vary based on point of departure and time of travel. Trip add-ons like sightseeing tours and meal plans may also increase the price. Check with the tour operator for additional gateways and any single supplements, which is the extra cost that a solo traveler would pay to book the deal.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our Australia Forum.