How to See More for Less Down Under

After making that long-haul trek all the way across the Pacific to Australia or New Zealand, you will be no doubt be ready to get out and shake a leg. Whether you're on a business trip with meetings in several cities or a walkabout in the outback is more your pleasure, both Qantas and Air New Zealand have some great ways to keep you on the move on the cheap.

Air passes may not always be the amazing deals they claim to be, but the Qantas Aussie AirPass is almost better than advertised—a good deal at any time and an extraordinary bargain under the right circumstances. It essentially gives you a choice of 3 extra cities to visit in addition to your point of entry and even lets you return from a different airport, all at virtually no extra cost and sometimes for even less than the price of a standard return ticket to any one city.

For example, the best fare currently available to Sydney in May is $1,140 round-trip with taxes from Los Angeles.

Now pick up an Aussie AirPass and throw Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane into the mix, and the total price comes to $1,263.

In other words, you can tour the whole of Southeast Australia and Tasmania for only $120 more than the price of seeing Sydney alone, and the savings are even greater to other cities. Yes, even the math is magical in the Land of Oz!

Lest you think this all sounds a tad too good to be true, there are some limitations, of course. First of all, this is not a free pass to roam at will, because you must plan your entire itinerary at the time of booking. Furthermore,

  • Straying beyond Zone 1—which includes all major cities except Perth, but not major tourist attractions like Alice Springs and the Great Barrier Reef—will cost you at least $300 more.
  • Extending your stay beyond the maximum 3 weeks up to 3 months will set you back another $300.
  • Traveling outside the cheapest seasonal periods of May and August will add anywhere from $100 to $1,100 to the cost of your trip. It appears that you only need to start —not complete—your trip in any given period for that particular period fare to apply.
  • Leaving from cities other than Los Angeles or San Francisco tags on $90-360 if you buy your connecting flight through Qantas, but you can of course buy it separately and possibly for less.

The Aussie Airpass is on sale for travel through early December 2008.