Find a good-value flight to Australia? Go now. Prices are typically pounds 600-pounds 650 through discount agencies, many offering the opportunity to stop off in Japan en route. The bargains are likely to last for departures up until mid or late June.

Sample a virtual reality theme park before your pals? Stop off in Tokyo on your way to Australia and visit Joypolis, in nearby Yokohama. It is operated by Sega, the same company behind the theme park that is due to open in London's Trocadero in the summer. The centrepiece in Japan is "VR-1", in which visitors are spies travelling through the galaxy. The suspension of disbelief is assisted by individual, head-mounted display units which generate 3D computer graphics.

Go for a quicky in Iceland? Just sign up for what Icelandair (0171- 388 5599) is calling a "Quicky Weekend" in Reykjavik, for

pounds 199.

Visit the Arctic? See the midnight sun without losing a day by taking a night trip to Tromso, Norway, from Heathrow. Twice a week in July, SAS Scandinavian Airlines is offering a flight to the Arctic Circle, plus a ride on the cable car to the top of nearby Storsteinen mountain. You pay pounds 199 through SAS Holiday World (0141-951 8988).

Visit Antarctica? Read the exploits of Rebecca Stephens, David Hempleman- Adams and Graham Hoyland in the travel pages of the Independent this Saturday. Then sign up for one of Abercrombie & Kent's 11-day cruises, price pounds 4,544; call 0171-730 9600.