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BARGAIN CORNER

Rail Australia Debuts More Flexible Passes

March 07, 1993|JACK ADLER

Rail Australia, which represents Australia's major rail services, has introduced a flexible version of its Austrail Pass that permits travelers to choose any eight days of unlimited rail travel within a 60-day period, or any 15 days within a 90-day period.

The eight-day version costs $256 U.S. for economy class, $424 for first-class. The longer 15-day option is priced at $380 economy and $600 first-class. The eight-day pass excludes the popular Adelaide-to-Perth route.

The Austrail Pass, also available on a consecutive-day basis, offers unlimited rail travel anywhere within Australia, including service on city metropolitan lines. As of March 1, the 14-day pass costs $348 economy and $580 first-class; 21 days, $452 and $716; 30 days, $548 and $880; 60 days, $784 and $1,228, and 90 days, $900 and $1,412.

Travelers can also use a Kangaroo Road 'n' Rail Pass that combines bus and train travel. Available in either economy or first-class, the pass permits unlimited travel on the rail network, plus the routes of major Australian motor-coach lines, for 14, 21 or 28 days on a consecutive-day basis. There is only one class seating on the motor coaches.

The 14-day pass costs $524 economy, $832 first-class. A 21-day pass is priced at $720 economy, $1,000 first-class, and the 28-day pass costs $920 economy and $1,224 first-class.

Prices on the rail passes are valid through February, 1994. Passes may be purchased both in the United States and within Australia.

There are also good deals available on bus/motor-coach travel Down Under. Australia Coachlines, which operates Australia's three national coach companies--Pioneer, Greyhound Australia and Bus Australia--offers a number of discount passes.

The Aussie Pass allows unlimited travel for a specified number of days within a time period. Options include any seven days within a month for $251, any 21 days in a two-month period for $614, and any 60 days over three months for $1,110. Prices are valid through March, 1994. This pass also may be purchased in the United States.

Consecutive-day Road n' Rail passes permit unlimited bus travel on Pioneer, Greyhound Australia and Bus Australia motor-coach lines, plus travel on Rail Australia. The 14-day pass costs $435 economy and $790 first-class (first-class travel is only available on the rail portion). A 21-day version costs $599 economy and $829 first-class, and a 28-day pass goes for $763 and $1,015. Prices are valid through March 31, 1993; new prices have not yet been set.

The Down Under Coach Pass offers unlimited bus travel in both Australia and New Zealand (using Mount Cook Line). The nine-day version costs $329; for 12 days, it's $394; 18 days, $501, and 24 days, $628.

The Road n' Rail and Down Under Coach passes must be purchased outside Australia.

Contact travel agents or ATS Tours, which represents Rail Australia, at (800) 423-2880, or SoPac Travel Marketing, which represents Australian Coachlines, at (800) 551-2012.

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