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Australia smooths way for touring by bicycle


I am traveling to Australia in February. Do you know of any bicycle touring companies there, including Tasmania?

Advances in cycle technology have brought cycling, both as a racing sport and as an active pastime, back to prominence in Australia over the past decade, according to the Australian Tourist Commission. Judging from the number of touring clubs, events and operators, Australia is something of a cyclist's nirvana.

Victoria and New South Wales, with their larger populations and more extensive road networks, are the most active cycling states. But Tasmania, with rich agricultural country and historic country houses, is an active cycling state, too.

For the individual planning a tour, the commission recommends "Cycling Around Sydney," published by the Bicycle Institute of New South Wales, P.O. Box 272, Sydney, New South Wales 2001, Australia.

The institute has a number of other books available.

The following organize and sell tours:

Centennial Park Cycles, 50 Clovelly Road Randwick, New South Wales 2000, Australia; telephone (61 2) 398 5027, fax (61 2) 398 8138.

Mount 'N' Beach Safaris, 1 Plunkett St., Naremburn, New South Wales 2065, Australia; (61 2) 9958 8685, fax (61 2) 9958 6451.

Youth Hostel Association, P.O. Box 5276, Sydney, New South Wales 2001, Australia; (61 2) 267 3044, fax (61 2) 261 1969.

Paddy Pallin Kosciusko Adventures, Snowline Caravan Park, Kosciusko Road, Jindabyne, New South Wales 2627, Australia; (61 64) 562 922, fax (61 64) 562 836.

Bicycle Victoria, G.P.O. Box 1961R, Melbourne, Victoria 3001; (61 3) 328 3000, fax (61 3) 328 2288.

Brakeout Cycling Tours, P.O. Box 427, Kingston, Tasmania 7051, Australia; (61 02) 291 999, fax (61 02) 298 019.

Tasmanian Expeditions, 110 George St., Launceston, Tasmania, Australia; (61 03) 34 3477, fax (61 03) 343 463.

Fact sheets and brochures about cycling in Australia can be obtained from the Australian Tourist Commission, 2121 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, Calif. 90067; (310) 552-1988, fax (310) 552-1215.

I am interested in spending the Christmas and New Year's holidays in the Lowestoft-Yarmouth areas of East Anglia, England. Do you know of any inns or cottages where I could make a reservation?

The local tourist-information centers at Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft publish brochures listing accommodations there.

They can also offer general guidance on places that would meet individual requirements, although they will not make specific recommendations.

For Lowestoft call (44 1502) 523000, fax (44 1502) 539023, or write to the Tourist Information Center, East Point Pavilion, Royal Plain, Lowestoft, Norfolk NR33 0AP, England.

Great Yarmouth can be reached at (44 1493) 846345, fax (44 1493) 846332, or at Town Hall, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk NR30 2PX, England.

You might also consider Southwold, 12 miles south of Lowestoft on the coast. It is a charming, sedate and very pretty resort that has its own information center. It can be reached at (44 1502) 724729, which is both the phone and the fax, or at Town Hall, Market Place, Southwold, Norfolk IP18 6EF, England.

The British Tourist Authority publishes a free booklet called "Stay at an Inn," and its section on East Anglia lists several places near Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, inland and on the coast.

The booklet includes maps with references for each place listed. The B.T.A. is at 551 Fifth Ave., Suite 701, New York, N.Y. 10176; (212) 986-2200 or (800) 462-2748 outside New York City.

The East Anglia Tourist Board publishes what it calls a short-breaks brochure, listing places to stay and area attractions.

It can be reached at Toppesfield Hall, Hadleigh, Suffolk IP7 5DN, England; (44 1473) 822922, fax (44 1473) 822922.

I will be spending a week in Toronto in April. How can I obtain theater information for that time so I can buy tickets in advance?

There is no single published list of Toronto's 44 theaters, according to the Metropolitan Toronto Convention and Visitors Association, which adds that one of its travel counselors would be able to tell you about individual theaters over the phone.

Productions that are running now and are expected to be running next year include "The Phantom of the Opera" at Pantages Theater, (416) 872-2222; "Forever Plaid" at the New Yorker Theater, (416) 872-1111; and "Sunset Boulevard" at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts, (416) 872-2222.

By Feb. 1, a travel counselor will have information about April productions.

At this point, they include "Three Tall Women," by Edward Albee, due at the Royal Alexander Theater, (416) 872-1212, from April 9 to May 18, and "A Little Night Music," by Stephen Sondheim, at the Canadian Stage Company from April 8 to May 11, (416) 368-3110.

The visitor association, which is offering Value Plus Packages until April 30 that include accommodations and entertainment selections, including theaters, can be reached at 207 Queens Quay West, Box 126, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5J 1A7; (800) 363-1990.

A double room costs from $38 to $107, calculated at 77 American cents to the Canadian dollar. Tickets, which the association books for you, are available at regular prices.

We are traveling to northern Germany in late March through mid-April and would like to know if there is any bus service between Bremen and smaller towns such as Osterholz-Scharmbeck and Bremervorde.

There is a train connection between Bremen's main railway station and Osterholz-Scharmbeck and there's a bus connection between Osterholz-Scharmbeck and Bremervorde.

The train ride from Bremen to Osterholz-Scharmbeck takes 18 minutes, the bus ride to Bremervorde about 1 hour and 20 minutes. The No. 175 buses to Bremervorde leave from the bus terminal outside the Osterholz-Scharmbeck railway station.

A one-way train ticket costs $4.50, calculated at 1.57 marks to the dollar, and the bus ticket is $7.

The buses leave Osterholz-Scharmbeck 10 minutes after the train arrives from Bremen.

The trains to Bremen leave Osterholz 10 minutes after the bus arrives.

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