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The Southern Island's Alps, in New Zealand. photo:  Marie Javins.
Younger Crowd Heading for the South Pacific

Australia's popularity as an international travel destination for younger travelers has increased in recent years. Contiki Holidays, which specializes in affordable vacations especially designed for 18- to 35-year-olds, reports an increase in overall business Down Under and has introduced more than 25 new itineraries throughout Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

Two new packages expand on Contiki's popular Getaway and Lifestyle tour concepts, offering shorter and more culturally diverse vacations that appeal to the younger traveler.

"We're finding that younger travelers are more sophisticated these days and are looking for the next hot destination, especially if they've been to Europe before," said Lisa Wooldridge, of Contiki Holidays. "The South Pacific is appealing for its diversity, offering everything from tropical beaches and scuba diving, Outback adventures, Sydney city-life and the excitement of New Zealand, birthplace of bungee-jumping."

Business to Australia has increased 14 percent, while travel to New Zealand has grown 21 percent among Contiki's young clients. Hollywood has helped fuel interest in the South Pacific as young adults have experienced the amazing New Zealand scenery on display in the two Lord of the Rings movies and watched as the cast of MTV's popular The Real World: Las Vegas enjoyed an Australian adventure with Contiki earlier this year.

Australia
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Expanding the popular Getaway concept that was launched in Europe two years ago, Contiki now offers a 6-day Sydney to Melbourne tour, giving travelers the opportunity to visit two of Australia's most popular cities.

The trip includes a walking tour of Sydney's sights featuring the Opera House, Harbor Bridge and "The Rocks," a popular area filled with shops and pubs. In Melbourne, travelers will visit the famous Cricket Ground and take an afternoon cruise on the Yarra River, the only river to flow upside down.

There is plenty of free time for shopping, hitting Australia's famous beaches or taking advantage of some of Contiki's more adventurous optional activities such as the Harbor Bridge Climb or bungee jumping. Prices start at $659 per person, land-only, quad-share. Fly n' tour prices, including roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco, start at $1,924 per person.

For those looking to experience some of Australia's diverse culture, Contiki's new 6-day East Coast Cruiser starts in Sydney and visits New South Wales' famous Hunter Valley wine region, the coastal Coffs Harbor and ends in Brisbane.

Traveling in a mini-coach with a small group (maximum 20 passengers), the trip offers a variety of unique accommodations including the Hunter Resort Country Estate, situated on an enormous winery, and an authentic Australian Farm Stay complete with horses, sheep and a resident pet kangaroo. Optional excursions include a Dolphin Cruise in Coffs Harbor or kayaking at Byron Bay. Prices start at $625 per person, quad-share and include domestic flight from Sydney to Melbourne. Fly n' tour prices, including roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Sydney, start at $1,890 per person.

To take advantage of Australia's many beaches and numerous water sports Contiki's 11-day Coast & Whitsundays features Sydney, Coffs Harbor, Surfers Paradise, Fraser Island and a choice of resort destinations to end the trip: either the beautiful Whitsundays or upgrade to Contiki's own Great Keppel Island Resort for 18-35s, located off the coast of Queensland. Both offer stunning scenery and a variety of activities including parasailing and scuba diving. Contiki's resort includes deluxe accommodations, daily brunch and dinner, an on-site nightclub and more. Prices start at $870 per person, land-only, quad-share. Packages with the Great Keppel Island Resort upgrade are an additional $189.

New Zealand

New Zealand offers something for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Contiki's 14-day Grand Explorer covers both the northern and southern islands including Christchurch, Queenstown and Auckland. Travelers will see the waterfalls at Whangarei, visit the famous Agrodome Cattle Station and Sheep Farm, enjoy a traditional Hangi-style meal and Maori concert, visit Fox Glacier and cruise Milford Sound.

For adrenaline junkies, there are dozens of optional activities available including heli-jetting, tandem sky diving, bungee jumping, or a glacier flight over Mount Cook. Prices start at $875, based on land-only, quad-share. Fly n' tour prices, including roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco, start at $1,844 per person.

Contiki also offers a Fiji sailing adventure from $539, 4WD Australian Outback adventures and 3-5 day Great Barrier Reef dive packages, starting at $359. See Contiki's new Australia & New Zealand brochure or visit www.contiki.com for itineraries and prices.

Most Contiki South Pacific tours include land transportation via luxury air-conditioned motorcoaches, many meals, sightseeing excursions and a professional tour manager and driver throughout. Solo travelers can be matched with a same-sex roommate to avoid single supplement costs. Land-only or Fly n' Tour prices are available. For more information and a free Contiki South Pacific brochure, consumers should see their travel agent, call toll-free at 1-888-CONTIKI or log onto contiki.com.

Wanna go?

Most Contiki South Pacific tours include land transportation via luxury air-conditioned motorcoaches, many meals, sightseeing excursions and a professional tour manager and driver throughout. Solo travelers can be matched with a same-sex roommate to avoid single supplement costs.

Land-only or Fly n' Tour prices are available.

For more information and a free Contiki South Pacific brochure, consumers should see their travel agent, call toll-free at
1-888-CONTIKI

or log onto contiki.com.


The Sydney Opera House

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