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Cycling, Walking and Rafting Scenic Tasmania


Asia Transpacific Journeys is offering a 13-day "Discover Tasmania" trip. It includes bush walking (hiking) in Cradle Mountain-Lake St. Clair National Park and Freycinet National Park, a three-day wilderness backpacking excursion through the island's Central Plateau and Walls of Jerusalem National Park, cycling along the rugged east coast, cycling and walking around Maria Island National Park and rafting on the Picton River, surrounded by the forests of southwest Tasmania.

The seven-day "Active Tasmania" trip covers the island top to bottom, from Launceston to Hobart. Highlights are four days cycling through the Fingal Valley to the coastline and Freycinet National Park, bush walking to Wineglass Bay and on Maria Island, and rafting on the Picton River.

Departures for these and other Tasmania trips run from January to April and October to December.

Cost: $2,995 for the 13-day trip, and $1,599 for the seven-day trip, per person, double occupancy, including hotels, most meals, guides and ground transportation. Air fare is extra.

Contact: Asia Transpacific Journeys, 2995 Center Green Court, Boulder, CO 80301; telephone (800) 642-2742, Internet

More Tasmania: Wines

A short tour of Tasmanian vineyards is available year-round by Swain Australia Tours of Ardmore, Pa. The five-day, four-night visit begins with a stay at the 1874 Lenna Mansion, which overlooks the island's capital of Hobart, founded in 1804 and Australia's second-oldest city.

Twenty minutes away are the Coal River Valley and several wineries open for tastings. Dinner is at Mures Dockside, a restaurant with its own fishing boats.

On Day 3, oenophiles are taken to the east coast for stops at the noted Spring Vale and Freycinet vineyards. Dinner and lodging is at the Calstock guest house near Deloraine. On Day 4, stops are made at the Pipers Brook winery in the Tamar Valley. Dinner is at Fee & Me in Launceston, an award-winning establishment that serves "modern Australian cuisine."

Cost: $850 per person, double occupancy, including four nights' lodging, most meals and ground transportation. Air fare to Australia is extra.

Contact: Swain Australia Tours; tel. (800) 227-9246, Internet

Ecuador: Galapagos

Southwind Adventures offers year-round departures of its 11-day Galapagos Wildlife Odyssey, featuring eight days of cruising aboard a deluxe 20-passenger yacht to visit the Galapagos Islands, two overnight stays in Quito and a full day at the historic Otavalo market.

Cost: from $2,635 per person, double occupancy, including most meals, hotel and cruise accommodations, transfers, escorted mainland tour, guide services, basic trip cancellation insurance and park entrance fees. Discounts for children 7 to 11 years old and special family rates are available. Air fare is extra.

Cruises can also be combined with travel to Ecuador's highland markets and Amazon rain forest lodges, and to Peru's Machu Picchu ruins.

Contact: Southwind Adventures; tel. (800) 377-9463, Internet

Paris: Shop and Eat

A pre-holiday, seven-day trip to Paris, focusing on fashion, music and food, is limited to a "dinner-party-size" group of 12. Guests will stay in the heart of Paris at Hotel Regina. Each day they will visit a different neighborhood where they can shop for antiques, gourmet foods and wines, handcrafted toys, discount couture clothing, estate jewelry and secondhand treasures at a flea market.

Music includes a candlelighted chamber concert, live jitterbug in a subterranean nightspot, cool jazz and an evening of French cabaret. Culinary adventures feature a paella feast in a Spanish flamenco restaurant, classic French comfort food in a brasserie established in 1886 and dining in a bistro that was used as secret headquarters for the French Resistance during World War II.

Cost: $2,875 per person, double occupancy, including hotel with breakfast, five lunches, three dinners, Paris transport pass, museum pass, runway fashion show, concerts and daily guided excursions. Air fare is not included.

Contact: Anne Block at Take My Mother Please Tours; tel. (323) 737-2200, Internet

Mexico: Folk Art

UCLA Extension is offering "Oaxaca: Ancient Civilizations and Contemporary Folk Art," an archeology and folk-art study tour of the Oaxaca Valley, Dec. 18 to 26. Led by archeologist and art historian Kent Reilly, the trip will include a tour of the region's archeological sites, such as Monte Alban and Mitla, and local villages known for folk arts.

Guests will visit museums, taste authentic Oaxacan cuisine, witness festivities and learn about the ancient civilizations of the region and their influence on the contemporary cultures.

Cost: $2,899 per person, double occupancy, including round-trip air fare from Los Angeles, eight nights' accommodations, all meals and ground transportation.

Contact: UCLA Extension, Department of Humanities; tel. (310) 825-2272.

China: River Cruise

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