Brisbane will host the Southern Hemisphere's first World Expo 88 this century. For young travelers who visit the fair during its April 30 to Oct. 30 run, the Australian Youth Hostel Assn. is offering low-cost, do-it-yourself, domestic, tour programs. Seven- and 14-night packages include bus transportation from many Australian cities, three-day Expo passes and youth hostel accommodations in Brisbane and at a beach resort.
You can arrange your own accommodations in Brisbane but don't count on camping as an inexpensive alternative because it is not permitted within 13 miles of the city center. If you buy an Australian Youth Hostel Assn. Expo package, you can leave open the return date on your bus ticket and you do not need to use your three-day Expo pass on consecutive days.
All of the association's packages include four nights at a youth hostel in Brisbane, and the rest of the nights at your choice of two resort areas. Brisbane has two participating youth hostels. The city hostel is about a 10-minute walk to Expo. The Kendron Hostel is a 5-mile, 20-minute bus ride. Both of the beach resorts' youth hostels have swimming pools. The new Coolangatta hostel on Coolangatta Road is on the Gold Coast--a 21-mile beach that is the most commercialized resort area in Australia.
The hostel is about 65 miles from Brisbane and about 15 miles from the high-rise jungle known as Surfers Paradise. The Maroochydore youth hostel on Schirrmann Drive is in a suburban setting on the Sunshine Coast. This area is known for fine surfing and is less commercial than the Gold Coast. A courtesy car will pick up hostelers from the local bus depot.
A seven-night association Expo/Beach Resort package from Sydney costs $220 Australian (about $169 U.S.); for 14 days it's $290 Australian (about $223 U.S.).
From Cairns, a seven-day package is $320 Australian; 14 days it's $390. Packages also from Perth, Melbourne and Darwin.
For more details on association packages, contact Australian Youth Hostel Assn. Adventures, 60 Mary St., Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia. There are no age limitations on these packages, but you must be a member of the International Youth Hostel Federation.
For membership details, contact American Youth Hostels, Los Angeles Council, P.O. Box A, Harbor City 90710; (213) 831-8846.
If you go to Expo 88 independently, you can buy a three-day Expo pass from a travel agent or at an Australian post office. Cost is $40 Australian.
Handbooks on locations and facilities of Australian youth hostels are at the association at 355 Kent St., Sydney 2000, or in Queensland at 462 Queen St., Brisbane 400.