Australia is getting a lot of attention these days (the Bicentennial is coming up in '88). Clare and Adrian Webster are hoping to snag a record number of visitors with their Bed & Breakfast Australia program. Hosts throughout the country. Accommodations in cities and suburbs, on ranches, farms. Other hosts on Queensland's Great Barrier Reef and Tasmania. For a free booklet titled "Homestays and Farmstays," drop a card to the Websters at Bed & Breakfast Australia, P.O. Box Q184, Sydney, N.S.W. 2000, Australia. (Dozens of listings, including a breeding farm for thoroughbreds that features a grand old 1800s home with a billiards room.) For other information about Australia, contact the Australian Tourist Commission, 3550 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1740, Los Angeles 90010. Telephone (213) 380-6060.
If you're searching for a hideaway for the holidays, inns throughout California are preparing to host individuals, families. Toys, caroling, cookie baking, candlelight tours. Bobbi Zane has compiled a list of inns in California and Colorado where the spirit of the season promises particular warmth. Says Zane: "Innkeepers have hauled out trunks full of heirlooms used only during the holidays, dressed up their houses." For a copy of her guide, send $1 to Zane c/o YBR, 2445 Northcreek Lane, Fullerton, Calif. 92631.
A month-long Christmas celebration will get under way at San Diego's venerable Hotel Del Coronado Dec. 3 with the lighting of a 30-foot tree in the lobby. Guests will be entertained the following evening by choral groups. Holiday dinners served both nights in the Crown Room. Details by calling (619) 435-6611.
Meanwhile, the Cartwright Hotel in San Francisco is offering a holiday package ($79 plus tax) that includes accommodations for two, free round-trip transportation to the hotel from San Francisco International Airport, a $10 gift certificate, complimentary tea/cake and hot cider in the lobby each afternoon. Package expires Jan. 18. The Cartwright Hotel: 524 Sutter St., San Francisco 94102. Telephone (415) 421-2865.
At Lake Havasu, Ariz., the Nautical Inn will be celebrating Christmas with an $84 package starting Dec. 19 that includes breakfast, dinner, a welcome cocktail, free golf or tennis, tours of London Bridge and Lake Havasu's English village. A special program is planned for children (movies, marshmallow roasts, a treasure hunt). See your travel agent or call the inn toll-free (800) 892-2141.
Everyone knows that Hong Kong is mecca for shoppers, but there's one problem: with so many stores it's hard to figure out where to start. Now there's help. A friendly lady who knows every arcade and alley in Hong Kong will guide you. Takes you to factory outlets, specialty shops, jewelers, tailors, stores that specialize in cameras, hi-fi equipment. She'll even meet your flight. Arranges picnics and side trips to neighbor islands/the New Territories. Write to Riggs Shoppers, Room 702-3 Ocean Centre, Canton Road, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong, or contact the local representative, Mrs. Ros Hetreed, Apt. 322, Marina City Club, 4300 Promenade Way, Marina del Rey, Calif. 90292.
In New England, everyone's favorite state seems to be Vermont. Dozens of cozy inns, restaurants, antique shops, ski resorts. Visitors arrive year-round to explore the back roads, 19th-Century villages. Now the state has produced a "Four Seasons Vacation Rentals" guide. Lists more than 200 accommodations. Everything from farmhouses and lakeside cottages to log cabins, condominiums and ski lodges. Rentals by the day or for an entire season. The guide is free along with a map of the state. Send a post card to the Vermont Travel Division, Dept. R718, 134 State St., Montpelier, Vt. 05602.
LaCure is a company that provides "secret escapes for people who deserve something better than an ordinary hotel." They deal in deluxe villas in the Caribbean and Mexico. For $870 per person (seven nights) here's what they're featuring in Jamaica: a villa with a swimming pool, a staff of four, all meals, a car with unlimited mileage, a bar (restocked daily), water sports, greens fees, tennis, riding and a gift box of flowers when the vacation is over. Properties in Ocho Rios/Runaway Bay. For other details, contact Colette Buck c/o LaCure, 11661 San Vicente Blvd., Suite 1010, Los Angeles 90049, or telephone (213) 877-4930. The toll-free number is (800) 387-2726.
A New Inn