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Jerry Hulse's Travel Tips

August 23, 1987|JERRY HULSE | Times Travel Editor

Australia's answer to the Orient Express goes into service Oct. 2. The refurbished train will do daylight trips out of Spencer Street station in Melbourne. Five passenger cars, two club cars, a couple of dining cars ("five-star cuisine and service."). It's called the Southern Cross Express. The train will leave Melbourne for Sydney on Friday, travel from Sydney to Canberra on Saturday, return Sunday to Melbourne. Passage will begin at $195 Australian, including meals. (The train will be available for group charters Tuesdays/Wednesdays.)

The Southern Cross Express went into service in the early 1940s under the South Australian Railways banner. The operator says she "will recapture the Old World romance of vintage rail travel." Claims these trips will be "journeys back in time to a period of comfort and elegance." Details from Australia Vintage Travel, 1008 S. 77 Sunshine Strip, Harlingen, Tex. 78550 or telephone toll-free (800) 847-0110.

Britain Hosts Disabled

Britain's National Trust is converting holiday cottages for use by the disabled. A couple are already accepting guests in Cornwall at St. Anthony Head on the Roseland Peninsula with its stunning views of Falmouth Bay. The British have installed ramps, grab rails, sliding doors, wheelchair-level plugs. Furniture for guests with impaired mobility. One cottage sleeps four, the other accommodates two. Originally the cottages served as officers' quarters at St. Anthony Head Battery in Cornwall. A mix of antiques and modern furniture. Fireplaces for chilly evenings. Lots of books, jigsaw puzzles. A cheery, down-home atmosphere. Rates from 80 (about $49 U.S.) per week (low season) for the smaller cottage to 245 (about $149 U.S.) per week (high season) for the larger cottage. To book, contact Anne Green, Holiday Cottage manager, The National Trust, Lanhydrock Park, Bodmin, Cornwall PL30 4DE, England.

Meanwhile, the National Trust has produced a booklet titled "Facilities for Disabled and Visually Handicapped Visitors." Tells about wheelchair paths, powered vehicles available to help the disabled explore Trust properties in Kent/Yorkshire. Taped guides for visually handicapped. Packed with details covering England, Wales, Northern Ireland. Guide dogs welcomed at all National Trust properties. Make inquiries c/o Facilities for Disabled Visitors, The National Trust, 36 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AS or contact the British Tourist Authority, 350 S. Figueroa St., (Suite 450), Los Angeles 90071 or telephone (213) 628-3525.

For other details on travel for the disabled (both at home and abroad), send a self-addressed stamped envelope to The Society for the Advancement of Travel for the Handicapped, 26 Court St., Penthouse Suite, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11242.

B&B Update

The cost of travel overseas is spiraling. As a result, more Americans are switching to B&Bs. A new toll-free number (800) 852-2632 gets you information on more than 800 B&Bs in England, Scotland, Wales. Everything from fancy Tudor homes and country pubs to farmhouses and modern bungalows. A choice of 35 properties in London alone.

Here's another source: Bed and Breakfast Reservations Services Worldwide. Represents 10,000 properties in 43 states, Canada, Jamaica, the British Isles, Europe, New Zealand. Dozens of choices (apartments, log cabins, grist mills, farmhouses, ski chalets, beaccars and photography. During addresses and telephone numbers of 78 reservation services representing these properties, send $1 together with a large, self-addressed stamped envelope to B&B RSWW, P.O. Box 14797, Department 174M, Baton Rouge, La. 70898 or telephone (504) 346-1928.

Fall in New England

Seems only yesterday it was June. Now summer's nearly gone. With fall approaching, hundreds of New England innkeepers will be stoking the fires, serving hot cider. A new brochure describing guest homes in Newport, R.I., is free by sending a stamped self-addressed business envelope to Newport Guest House Assn., P.O. 981, Newport, R.I. 02840. Among homes listed is the Brenley Victorian Inn with its period furnishings, Victorian kerosene lamps, candles, fresh flowers. Another, the Yankee Peddler Inn, sits atop Newport's Historic Hill only a few blocks from the harbor. And there's Melville House, a Colonial inn (circa 1750) that does business in the heart of Newport's historic district. Just around the corner from Brick Market and the Wharfs. For Christmas shoppers, Newport features dozens of unusual shops. It's also home to American's oldest continuously operating tavern.


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