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Great (but not yet free) fares to Australia

By JD Rinne
October 3, 2012
blog_090317_sydney_pano_original.jpg
Courtesy <a href="http://mybt.budgettravel.com/_Sydney-Opera-House-and-Harbor-Bridge/photo/2193677/21864.html?enlarge=true">melissamatsu/myBudgetTravel</a>

Looks like those normally laid-back Australians are worried about one thing—the downtrodden global economy's effect on tourism. As The Age reported last week (and travel blog Jaunted picked up), the Australian government is mulling over a plan to pay for tourists' flights, as long as the tourists spend a certain amount of dough once they land (it would be something like $3,200).

There's no guarantee that plan will pass—but it's already possible to get yourself to Australia cheaply these days. Qantas, the country's national carrier, just cut one-way fares from L.A. and San Francisco to several cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane. Flights start at $299 each way, or $598 round-trip, before taxes (which we saw running about $120.) The deadline to book is by Friday—so act fast. Travel is through Oct. 24.

United Airlines has a competing sale, with rates from L.A. to Melbourne and Sydney starting at $299 each way before taxes (also around $120). Book by Monday for travel through June 15. Remember that the more flexible your dates, the more likely you are to get a deal (travel on weekends will almost always be more expensive).

You can get more info on Australia's official tourism site and even plan a One Week Walkabout package.

(Need to get inspired? Try watching the epic Australia; it's now out on DVD. Read what we said about it the 2008 edition of Movie Quest.)

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