For the first time since 2000, International Expeditions will offer an Australia itinerary in 2010. And wholesaler Travel Bound has announced the addition of eight hotels in Australia and three in New Zealand.

International Expeditions is offering four departures of the 14-day Natural Wonders Down Under itinerary between May and July. The itinerary includes a few days in Sydney; traverses the Blue Mountains to the central Ayers Rock; heads south for visits to Melbourne and Apollo Bay; then north to Palm Cove and the Great Barrier Reef.

It includes stays at the Quay Grand Suites in Sydney, the Desert Gardens Hotel at the Voyagers Ayers Rock Resort, the Great Ocean View Motel and Oasis Palm Cove Resort.

The trip starts at $4,998 per person, double, not including air.

Meanwhile, Travel Bound President Nico Zenner said agent bookings have produced a 36% increase in Australia travelers this year. He added that Travel Bound has seen a 10% increase in New Zealand travelers.

"A growing number of travelers have become more sophisticated and are choosing to take independent trips to far-flung destinations like Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific," said Zenner.

Travel Bound's new Australia properties include the four-star Seasons Heritage in Melbourne, the three-star Ibis King Street Wharf in Sydney and the four-star Azzura Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast.

The 11 added hotels brings Travel Bound's total number of properties in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji to 66.

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