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Youth Beat

Australian Island Resort Caters to the More Budget-Minded

September 08, 2002|LUCY IZON

Contiki Holidays, known for its tours for travelers 18 to 35, has opened a resort on Great Keppel Island in Queensland, Australia, offering accommodation, meals and activities for less than $60 a day.

Great Keppel Island, which has long been popular with young travelers, is eight miles off the coast of eastern Australia. Rockhampton, the closest gateway city, is on the Tropic of Capricorn. The island is not part of the Great Barrier Reef, but it has 11 miles of beautiful beaches. Ferries to Great Keppel Island leave from Rosslyn Bay.

Great Keppel Island Resort, which once was owned by Qantas airlines, has 181 newly renovated rooms and villas, five pools, three bars, a nightclub featuring live entertainment, restaurants and a fitness center.

The daily rates include brunch, dinner and more than 40 free activities, among them archery, sailing, snorkeling, golf, water aerobics and surfing, organized by CAPS (Contiki Action Planners). Other activities, such as a sunset ocean cruise, therapeutic massages, picnics and tandem skydiving, cost extra.

Rates start at $115 per person for two nights or $395 for seven in single, twin or triple-share rooms. If you are traveling solo, Contiki will set you up with roommates so you won't have to pay a single supplement.

Contiki Holidays, in operation for more than 40 years, offers more than 100 escorted tours to Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America. For more information, see a travel agent or call (888) CONTIKI (266-8454), www.contiki.com.

The number of budget accommodations in China continues to grow. Two youth hostels have opened in the port city of Dalian, which is about halfway between Beijing and Seoul, South Korea. One hostel, which was once a warship, has a maritime museum. The other is a new hostel in the city center, about two miles from the railway station. A third hostel has opened in a renovated riverside inn in the center of Jiangmen, a southern city between Macao and Guangzhou.

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Lucy Izon is a Toronto-based freelance travel writer and author of "Izon's Backpacker Journal." Her Internet site is www.izon.com.

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