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Rates Trimmed for Australia's 'Sunshine State'

January 06, 1991|BILL HUGHES

Mature travelers are being offered deals on extended-stay vacations to the "sunshine state."

That's not to Florida but to Queensland, Australia's tropical state that also claims the sunshine state nickname because of its year-round balmy climate.

The deal includes two weeks in a two-bedroom townhouse and round-trip air fare from Los Angeles for $1,940. That's a bargain, considering that regular air fare alone can run as much as $1,700.

The trips are offered by AeroTours International, which began selling tours just to seniors about eight years ago. It has since expanded its packages to travelers of all ages, but mature clients still make up the bulk of its business, especially during the winter season.

Extended-stay vacations are offered to two Queensland destinations: Cairns, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, and Surfers Paradise, Australia's Gold Coast resort near Brisbane.

The packages to Cairns, including round-trip fares on Qantas flights from Los Angeles and two weeks in a two-bedroom townhouse at Reef Terraces on the coast, start at $1,940 per person, double occupancy. When four people share the townhouse, the package runs $1,700 per person.

The air-conditioned, furnished townhouses include a fully equipped kitchen, color TV and access to the resort's pool, indoor/outdoor restaurant and beach.

The $1,940 price is for tours during Australia's winter, May to August. But although it is winter, the weather is still mild.

The peak summer season, now through February, commands $2,455 per person, double occupancy, or $2,215 per person for four.

Similar two-week stays are offered to Surfers Paradise, located on a spectacular 26-mile white-sand beach. Accommodations are in a fully equipped, one-bedroom apartment, complete with kitchen and terrace at South Pacific Plaza, an apartment/hotel. There's a pool, spa and tennis.

During Australia's winter, May to August, rates are $1,930 per person, double, including air fare and all transfers and baggage handling to and from Brisbane, 40 minutes away from Surfers Paradise by bus. During peak season it's $2,385 per person, double occupancy. (Peak-season air fare on Qantas is $1,742.)

There are also mid-priced packages for both Cairns and the Gold Coast during March-April and September through November. AeroTours can also arrange rental cars, day-tours or trips to other destinations in Australia, and stopovers on flights to and from Australia from Los Angeles.

For additional information on the extended-stay vacations, contact AeroTours, 36 E. Third St., New York 10003, (800) 223-4555.

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