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LOW AIRFARES AND FAVORABLE EXCHANGE RATE MAKE TRAVEL TO TASMANIA MORE ENTICING THAN EVER

02-19-2009

Fares Almost Half What They Were Thanks to Two New Carriers

          Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (February 2009): With the debut of two new trans-Pacific carriers, airfares to Tasmania for this spring and summer are approaching half the cost of what they were in recent months. With low fares, and an exchange rate that is about 35% better than it was last summer ($1USD = $1.52AUD as of February 13, 2009), travel to Australia's southernmost state is highly affordable.

          Recently named the top island getaway in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific by Travel + Leisure magazine, Tasmania is just an hour's flight from Melbourne and two hours from Sydney.

          V Australia, Virgin Blue's new long-haul carrier, starts service between Los Angeles and Sydney on February 27, 2009 and has offered introductory return fares as low as $549. More competition will arrive on July 1, 2009 when Delta Air Lines starts a daily trans-Pacific service linking Los Angeles and Sydney. The U.S. carrier is offering a launch fare of $499 from Los Angeles to Sydney for travel between July and September 21, 2009. Passengers on the Sydney-LA service can remain on the same plane and continue to Atlanta, Delta's main hub.

          With a 30% increase in the number of seats on the market, the three other carriers operating a trans-Pacific service- Qantas Airways, United and Air New Zealand - are also offering similar bargains. Qantas, for example, is offering a $598 roundtrip ticket from Los Angeles or San Francisco to Sydney, Brisbane or Auckland at the beginning of February for travel until April 30, 2009. The carrier is also replacing its Boeing 747s with the new Airbus A380. Passengers will have more space in all classes. Air New Zealand has a $598 fare available until March 2, 2009, from either Los Angeles or San Francisco to Sydney for travel between May 1 and September 21, 2009. The fare from New York City is just $200 more.

          In addition to the falling trans-Pacific airfares, airlines are making Tasmania even easier to access with affordable domestic connections. The Qantas Aussie AirPass, for example, is on sale for $999 until February 27, 2009 and includes roundtrip trans-Pacific flights, plus three domestic Australia flights in Zone 1, which includes major cities in Tasmania. The Virgin Blue Airpass, which can be used by international travellers in conjunction with any international airline, has flights to Hobart or Launceston from Melbourne starting at $110 each way.

WHAT'S NEW
Bay of Fires Lodge Opens in Non-Walking Season; Available for Exclusive Use

          Since it opened in 2000, Bay of Fires Lodge has only been accessible to guests on the four-day Bay of Fires Walk and would close in the non-walking season. The lodge will now be available for bookings during the walking off-season period.

          With only ten rooms, the remote lodge can accommodate 20 people. Arrangements can also be made for exclusive use for intimate getaways, friend weekends or corporate retreats. The architecturally stunning hotel, which sits on a hilltop above the sea and is surrounded by the Mt. William National Park, is offering two special workshops in May:

Yoga and Meditation Workshop, May 21-24, 2009 - Hosted by respected Sydney-based yogini Muriel Corcoran, the four-day program includes daily classes in yoga and meditation, three nights' accommodations, transfers, and all meals and beverages, including Tasmanian wines at dinner. The cost is $1,200 per person.

Landscape and Documentary Photography, May 28-31, 2009 - Acclaimed Australian photographer Grenville Turner will lead a three-day workshop that will allow for close-up encounters with the natural beauty of Tasmania. The group will walk along the coastline to historic Eddystone lighthouse, kayak down the Anson's River to capture the native bird life in photos and participate in night walks to encounter wombats, Forrester kangaroos, possums and possibly even Tasmanian devils. The workshop costs $1,200 per person and includes three nights' accommodation, transfers and all meals and beverages.


TASMANIA TRAVEL PACKAGES
Tassie Adventure Package Offers 8 Days from $1,375 per person. Ground only.

          Tour of vibrant, waterside Hobart. Hike through natural wonders in Mt. Field National Park. Experience the ancient beauty of rugged Cradle Mountain. See Tasmanian Devils, sample fresh Tasmanian produce. Get to know Freycinet National Park's beaches, wildlife and the guardians of the peninsula, the Hazards.

          Tasmania is incredibly diverse. From flawless beaches, stunning gorges and towering sea cliffs and waterfalls, glacial lakes and gigantic hardwood trees, this journey will take you through a world marked by natural wonders and timeless grace.

For more information: The Adventure Travel Company at (800) 467-4595 or visit www.theadventuretravelcompany.com

TASTE OF TASMANIA ALLOWS VACATIONERS TO SAMPLE LOCAL FOOD AND WINE FOR 7
Days/6 Nights Starting at $1,466 per person double occupancy. Ground only.

          Indulge in an epicurean adventure on the island of Tasmania, which Saveur magazine described as "the best-kept secret in food and wine". The includes winemaker Natalie Fryar hosting a sparkling wine tasting at the Jansz winery in Pipers Brook near Launceston. Afterwards, Chef Daniel Alps will prepare a locally flavoured lunch at his restaurant Strathlynn, overlooking the Tamar River. Travel east to the award-winning Tarraleah Lodge and experience the best trout fishing on the island. The chef at the lodge will show you how to prepare your catch. Complete your culinary discovery at the Barilla Bay Oyster Farm. The clean cool waters of Tasmania help produce plump full flavoured oystersour. The Barilla stop includes tours and tastings.

The package, which is valid until March 31, 2009, also includes:

2 nights in a Deluxe Room at Hatherley House with continental breakfast
2 nights in a Harbour View Room at the Henry Jones Art Hotel with full breakfast
2 nights at the new Tarraleah Lodge, in a luxury lodge room, which includes selected pre-dinner drinks, four-course gourmet dinner, cooked-to-order breakfast and light signature lunch.
7 days mid-size car rental with Hertz

For more information: Tour de Forks at (888) 345-3005 or visit www.tourdeforks.com/tour5.shtml


SAMPLING OF EVENTS: MARCH-JUNE 2009 IN TASMANIA

Ten Days on the Island: Mar 27 - Apr 5, 2009
          This is Australia's only state-wide arts event. Ten Days presents performances and works across the artistic spectrum in a program that features five world premieres and 17 Australian premieres. Over 730 artists from 20 countries - Australia, Nova Scotia Canada, Taiwan, Cuba, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Hong Kong, Torres Strait, Jamaica, Japan, Mauritius, Newfoundland, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Samoa, Scotland, Singapore, Taiwan, Manhattan USA and Wales, will be seen in 62 festival projects in 99 venues in 52 locations across the state. All of it in ten days.

          The opening bash for 2009 will centre on Constitution Dock in the heart of Hobart, featuring free bands, spontaneous, roving entertainment, food stalls and the first of the amazing Dance Hall series at City Hall. www.tendaysontheisland.com

Targa Tasmania: Apr 28 - May 3, 2009
          Over six days, some of the world's best touring, sports and GT cars compete in competitive stages on the island's toughest roads. Up to 300 cars and drivers travel more than 1,200 miles to challenge the best in their category. [Back to Press Releases Main]