There’s nowhere in the world quite like them.
Most of us around Australia would recognise images of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, but what about some of the other coastal areas outside of Melbourne?
Located about half an hour past the turn off to Philip Island lie towns such as Kilcunda, Wonthaggi, Cape Paterson and Inverlock. If you’ve never heard of them and/or haven’t had the chance to visit, you really are missing out. The coastline of this region is absolutely breathtaking with the likes of Bunurong Marine National Park making for a sensational view. There’s also the rock formations and beaches there, which are a little slice of heaven.
I was fortunate enough to live in this coastal paradise for a couple of years and I can honestly say I loved every minute of it. Everything was right at our door step and the lifestyle was unforgettable. Plus, the flora and fauna is abundant, while kangaroos, echidnas, koalas and wombats inhabit the area and are pretty easy to spot.
For some families, this area is well known – it’s where they enjoy their annual summer holidays. And when the weather warms the population in these towns seems to explode overnight. The usually sleepy towns of the Bass Coast come alive as they gear up for tourist season. However, it’s in the colder months that tourists can get a feel for the lifestyle the locals enjoy.
It isn’t that far from Melbourne, so it’s close enough for a weekend stay. If you can spend a week however, I’d thoroughly recommend it. Sound enticing? Wait until you see some the images I’ve sourced.
As you drive over the hill into Kilcunda, the scene in front of you is astounding. It’s not unusual to see cars parked along the side of the road as people try to capture the incredible view. No matter how many photos I took, it never did the reality justice. It’s one of those sights you need to see yourself to fully appreciate its beauty.
The view from the foreshore heading back toward Philip Island is simply remarkable.
If you like to walk along the beach there are plenty of opportunities.
Wonthaggi is the largest town on the Bass Coast and is growing exponentially. It’s a major shopping hub complete with specialty shops and a relatively new mall. It has excellent medical facilities, including a hospital, and this is where locals generally source everything they need.
The giant whale bone at the front of this hotel is an iconic piece of Wonthaggi. Directly across the road a loud horn sounds at 12pm each day recollecting a tradition of the old mining town.
This tiny little place lies directly on the coast, 7km outside of Wonthaggi. In summer, the holiday homes are filled with families enjoying the sun, sand and surf. At one end of the beach the surf is usually pounding and is a popular place to throw in a board. At the other end, rock pools have been created for children to swim in serene waters. This area is so popular that two caravan parks are positioned with direct access to the beach.
Cape Paterson is a prime place for surfing, swimming, water sports, fishing, kite flying and kicking back to relax.
The rock pool is a perfect place for children to swim safely.
Bunurong Marine National Park
Along a windy stretch of road between Cape Paterson and Inverlock, ancient rock formations are dotted along the coastline. It’s been proclaimed a national marine park to preserve its magnificence. Fishing is banned in this area, as is taking anything from this nautical museum. So, if you wander along the shore you might be lucky to find star fish, crabs, small fish and even shells the size of your hand!
One of the most visited formations is Eagle Nest, pictured below. However, there are several places to turn off, have a walk and soak up the view. If you like to tinker with photography both above and below the water, this place is spectacular.
Taken at Bunurong Marine National Park.
Last but not least is Inverloch, situated directly on the coast. It’s a very popular tourist destination in summer because the beaches are to die for. It’s the perfect place for fishing and all types of water sports, with jet skiing being a favorite due to the calm waters. There are far more shops here than in Cape Paterson and Kilcunda, so this little place has everything you need for an awesome getaway.
Inverloch has a host of outdoor activities including water sports and stunning walking trails.
The Inverloch jetty is a popular fishing spot for locals and tourists.
If you’d like to visit The Bass Coast, head to their website for more information.
Images via Various Sources
Treat the entire family to an affordable winter getaway with the world’s largest and most stylist home-swapping site, Love Home Swap. It’s the perfect option for travellers who find regular holiday accommodation too touristy, cramped or impersonal.
Love Home Swap pairs you with a luxurious property in more than 160 countries across the world. “From sprawling chateaux in France, to funky urban lofts in New York and extravagant villas in Bali, our members have managed to swap their way to holidays that provide an average saving of almost $4,000 per trip, and often much more when you’re dealing with these ‘money can’t buy’ properties,” said founder, Debbie Wosskow.
Queenstown Ski Chalet
An award-winning, environmentally designed house just a few minutes from central Queenstown in picturesque Arthurs Point, Kohlara Lodge is a luxurious retreat providing total privacy and seclusion.
The Big Apple
Who can resist a trip to The Big Apple? Not us! Situated in New York’s uber-desirable Park Slope neighbourhood in Brooklyn, this architect owned and designed penthouse is located on the top floor of a former clock factory.
South of France
Located in the heart of the Gascony countryside in Mauvezine, Midi-Pyrenees, this 12th century chateau is set on 13 hectares of green rolling landscape. The luxurious home also opens out into a heated pool, complete with a bar and outdoor lounge area.
Try a free 14 day trial which is available now on Love Home Swap, after which membership starts at $22 per month, including unlimited swaps for 1 year.
Who can resist a little getaway which is only 8 hours away from Australian soil? French Polynesia is no secret to avid travellers, but this doesn’t mean it loses any of its appeal.
If you’re searching for that next family holiday, we offer you five more reasons why you should book this trip now!
Since it is located just south of the equator, French Polynesia experiences a mostly tropical climate with a heavy summer/rainy season during the beginning and end of the year. If you want to take advantage of hot, sunny weather, it is best to visit during the dry months between May to October.
Given the long history of French colonial rule, much of the cuisine is a fusion of cultures. You will find a variety of restaurants offering an eclectic mix of Asian, French and western cuisine which the entire family is bound to enjoy (even those picky eaters). One gourmet treat you must try are the crevettes, otherwise know as popular river prawns.
There are a variety of different water activities which run all year round. Some of the most popular ones include sailing, surfing, and diving which is the best way to create some long-lasting memories. If you want to stay dry, take part in other fun activities which the entire family can enjoy. Popular attractions such as hiking, dolphin watching, and shark-feeding are some fun ways to enjoy all that the islands have to offer.
Many of the resorts cater to the needs of young children and large families, so you don’t need to hesitate about bringing them along on the trip. Restaurants and resorts come equipped with child-minding services, and don’t cause a big fuss if your kids are a bit loud around the dinner table or by the pool – it happens!
Locals are quite laid-back and try to get travellers to enjoy their holiday as much as possible. Given that the islands are relatively free from a booming central business district, you will find that many people enjoy a relaxed way of life.
Have you every been to French Polynesia? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Images Via Passion For Luxury, Travel By Stove, HD Wallpapers
Whether you’re visiting during the summer or winter months, there’s always something to do in Norway.
This northern European country boasts idyllic fjords, delicious national food, and hiking trips which will make your stay feel like a once in a lifetime destination free from hoards of tourists.
People come from all over the world to fish, hike, and sightsee through the stunning Norwegian countryside. Rest in the nearby hotels which have been designed and decorated by local artists, and offer a true insight into the classic Norwegian lifestyle.
The Seven Sisters
A remarkable waterfall which features one of the tallest free-falls measuring approximately 250m until it hits the ocean floor. Take a guided tour along the nearby canals on a high-speed rib boat, especially during the winter months!
Rest and relax at the Hanseatic Wharf in Bryggen which is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions, and has been functioning since 1070. Dine at one of the best restaurants in town (Enhjorningen) which offers authentic Norwegian foods and local hospitality.
Kjerag Mountain, Forsand 4127
You may have seen this iconic picture floating on the internet before; a single boulder which has wedged itself between 2 mountains in the Kjerag region of Rogaland. Thrill-seekers can take a tour of the entire area, and have their photograph taken near the original site.
Haakon Kyllingmarks gate 6, 8300 Svolvaer
A rural archipelago which is renowned for its fishing villages located in Northern Norway. With crystal-clear skies and fresh sea-air, it will leave you refreshed and renewed – just like a real vacation should! Whale watching, mountain climbing, and swimming in the blue sea are all different ways to relax and make the most of your time in Lofoten Island. It’s also the best place to view the Northern Lights in Norway.
If you’re into looking at beautiful places and interesting people, look no further than your Instagram feed. Start your travel bucket list in 2015 with a bit of inspiration from these talented Instagram travel photographers.
Murad Osmann has travelled around the globe with his girlfriend (@yourleo) and each shot shows her – always fabulously dressed – seemingly asking the photographer to follow her into the beautiful scenery.
While Mustafa has done a bit of globe trotting recently, the bulk of his beautiful images were snapped in his homeland of Turkey.
Couple, Dave and Deb, have travelled all seven continents and 90 countries and share their colorful adventures with nearly 22,000 Instagram followers.
See everything, everywhere with award winning travel photographer – Gary Arndt. He’s been to more than 100 countries – so when we say everywhere, we means it!
A Holland-based, Norwegian photographer, Marianne Hope will add a much-needed dash of Northern Europe to your Instagram feed.
In my opinion, the ultimate travel photography Instagram account. Get to know their resident photographers – like the owner of this adorable shot, @amivitale – and learn a bit about the world in the process.
For a touch of India in your Instagram feed, follow this aggregator of photographs of this wild and wonderful nation. Color and character guaranteed.
The capital city of Budapest is known for it’s unique architectural structures which date back to the art nouveau style of the early 1900s, delicious national food, and even it’s bustling night life. If you’re ever planning a trip to Budapest, make sure to add the following destinations to your list.
Allatkerti korut 9-11, 1146
Hungary is known for it’s extensive natural bodies of water used for healing and recreation. Széchenyi is home to Europe’s largest public baths which are perfect if you want a little extra relax and recreation time during the trip.
Central Market Hall
Vamhaz korut 1-3
If you’re in town for the Christmas and holiday season, it’s best to make the most of your time at the Central Market Hall. Filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade trinkets, and local sellers, it’s the perfect place to enjoy what the real Budapest has to offer.
Disrict V, 1051
Try one of the fun and innovative taxi’s of Budapest, and enjoy a visual tour of the entire city. It’s often referred to the bohemian way of going with the flow, and seeing where exactly the city takes you! It’s also pretty cheap and affordable when compared to a standard taxi fare.
Balatoni ut, Szabadkai utca sarok, 1223
A must-see if you love nothing more than to sit back and enjoy the local art scene of the city. Most statues of the time depict the fall of communism in Hungary, most of which were demolished during the change of power in 1989.
Blue Rose Restaurant
Wesselenyi utca 9, 1077
For the best goulash in the entire city, look no further than Blue Rose which is located in the heart of central Budapest. Here you will find traditional Hungarian delicacies such as dumplings, vadas (stew), and chocolate kurtosh which is bound to be a crown pleaser. Ask for extra nuts and powdered sugar for an intense flavour!
Images via Szechenyifurdo, Viator, We Love Budapest, Sophiaca, Kat Cakes
We all travel to escape day-to-day reality. Scanning work emails, checking in on Facebook and uploading instagram selfies while away makes it tricky to get the most out of a well-deserved break so lastminute.com.au travel guru Louise Ryan looks at why a digital detox is more than necessary for most of us.
“New research by lastminute.com.au shows that while 64 per cent of us say we go on holidays to relax, the reality is almost a third (31 per cent) of Australians check their work emails while on holidays, 13 per cent do work on their laptop and 12 per cent even take work calls while on annual leave.
We also have attachment issues with our mobile phones, with less than half (41 per cent) of us saying we feel relaxed without our phone on holidays.
Social media is one of the biggest distractions to people ‘switching off’, with 78 per cent of people needing a social media fix while on holidays, with one in ten people admitting they are addicted to social media and can’t bear to ‘switch off’ while away.
From past experience, I know there is nothing more refreshing than completely switching off for a real holiday. By turning off your mobile phone and banning emails, outlook reminders and social media, you can clear your mind and focus on the destination you’re in, and the company you’re with.”
Below are Louise’s top tips for switching off:
- Leave your work phone at home so you don’t get tempted to scan an email or two
- Advise your family and friends know that you’ll be offline for a few days (so start panicking when they don’t hear from you!)
- Plan ahead and organise yourself so you don’t have to stress out about work matters while on holidays.
- Live in the moment! Enjoy your incredible holiday and the people you’re with without getting distracted
- Go remote! If you are really addicted go somewhere you literally are unable to get phone/internet reception (check out top lastminute.com.au detox destinations below)
Need a digital detox break?
Here are Louise’s top five suggestions for a tech-free vacation in Australia (where you’ll have very little phone reception even if you tried).
Just a few hours from Sydney, this six-star resort will make you feel a world away. Not even Telstra’s nationwide network can be picked up out here.
Located on the edge of the spectacular World Heritage listed Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, just 1.5 hours from Launceston, this is the perfect destination to relax, retreat and rejuvenate.
Nothing says remoteness like the Top End of Australia. Stay in this luxurious retreat in the heart of the majestic Mary River National Park Wetlands of the Northern Territory, just outside of Kakadu and make crocodile spotting your morning ritual rather than replying to work emails.
Choose between glamping in a luxury safari style eco tent or staying in your own solar powered eco villa overlooking the Indian Ocean. This Kimberley region retreat is just 90 minutes south of Broome and is all about sustainability, fresh produce and relaxation.
Imagine switching off by staying in heart of the world oldest rainforest. Bliss! Situated between the Mossman and Cape Tribulation end of the Daintree National Park, this lodge & spa is escapism at its best.
*According to lastminute.com.au’s 2014 Travel + Lifestyle Report which surveyed 5,700+ Australians.
Ever wondered where celebrities go in their down time? As you can probably guess, their holidays destinations are extravagant, picturesque and probably way out of most of our budgets. But, its nice to dream, so here are some of the top holiday destinations for celebrities:
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Also known as Cabo, this Mexican city perched on the banks of the North Pacific Ocean is a favourite for many celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, Justin Theroux and Courtney Cox. Justin Timberlake spent his bachelor weekend here and many celebrities including Cindy Crawford and George Clooney own houses in this A-list city. Cabo enjoys sunshine all year round and is home to numerous Michelin five star restaurants, plenty of nightlife and a number of luxurious resorts. Capella Pedregal is an exquisite resort and a favourite of Oprah Winfrey. It has its own private tunnel through the mountain into town and guests can enjoy soaking in their private plunge pool with spectacular views of the ocean.
St Barts, Caribbean
Sitting southeast of the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean is home to hundreds of tropical islands, all a small slice of paradise. St Barthelemy or St Barts for short is just one of those islands which is home to fine dining, pristine beaches and luxurious hotels including the famous Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc, which has welcomed many stars including Bruce Springsteen, the Black Eyed Peas, Jennifer Lopez, Mick Jagger, Janet Jackson and Reese Witherspoon. Because of its natural beauty the Victoria Secret models frequently shoot their campaigns on the beaches of St Barts and celebrities frequent the island so they can remain anonymous and have to worry very little about paparazzi.
The French Riviera or The Cote d’Azur, is the Mediterranean coastline in the southeast corner of France where you will find pristine beaches, incredible architecture, multi-million dollar yachts, and a heap of celebrities. Cannes, Monaco and St Tropez are the main drawcards in the Riviera which boast glamorous hotels for the rich and famous as well as A-list events including the Monaco Grand Prix and the Cannes Film Festival. Celebrities who have been spotted in the Riviera include Gwyneth Paltrow, Elton John, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis and Johnny Depp.
In the United Arab Emirates lies the city of Dubai which is home to fine dining, year-round summer weather, boutique shopping and glamorous hotels including the Burj Al Arab Jumeira which has been voted numerous times as the most luxurious hotel in the world. Arrive by helicopter or Mercedes transfer, enjoy a personalised butler service and dine at one of nine world class restaurants and bars. The Beckhams, Rita Ora, Tom Cruise, Claudia Schiffer and Giorgio Armani are just a few of the frequent A-list visitors to this vibrant city.
Hawaii is a popular holiday destination for celebrities because of its close proximity to Los Angeles. That, along with its relaxed atmosphere, fantastic weather and spectacular scenery make it a popular place to visit as well as own property. Oprah Winfrey, Clint Eastwood, Owen Wilson and Sean Penn all own real estate in Hawaii, with Maui being the most popular spot. Of course for all those celebrities who just fly in for some down time there are an abundance of luxurious secluded hotels as well.
Image source: cntraveler.com
Planning a European summer getaway and out of places to visit? Why not add Portugal to your bucket list as well? Not only is it one of the ‘Top 20’ most visited places in the world, but has spectacular weather all year round and incredible tourist locations. How much more convincing do you really need?
Portugal is known for it’s amazing summer-time weather which averages around 28ºC during the summer, and winter temperatures which generally won’t drop below 15ºC.
Did you know that there are more than 100 beaches located off the coast of Portugal? The locals know how to sit back and have a good time at one of the many popular, or isolated beaches in the country. Resorts are often picturesque in the summer, and are home to many tourists who choose to holiday in this little piece of heaven.
Food and wine
If you’re a massive foodie, you must visit Portugal and enjoy the various local delicacies. Not only is Portuguese cuisine known for it’s spectacular take on seafood, but the people have a long history of producing delicious wine. Port is definitely one of their specialties which you can find on the drinks list at any restaurant or café in the country. Northern provinces such as the Douro Valley also specialise in very sweet dessert wine which is extremely well known throughout the world.
The capital city of Lisbon is home to many different buildings and monuments which have been around for centuries. The Lisbon History Centre is a must-see for anyone interested in the humble beginnings of the city, dating all the way back to 1755. Stepping out of Lisbon, there are a large number of pre-historic monuments such as the Dolmen of Pendilhe and rock drawings located in Siega Verde which are a must-see.
The Portuguese sure know how to throw a party – with a number of clubs and bars open until all hours of the night. Especially in the summer, where nights are longer and the party scene definitely kicks in. Cities such as Lisbon and Porto are home to popular venues such as ‘Bedroom’ and ‘Clube da Esquina’ which attract a number of tourists and locals who love to have a good time.
Image via Paradise In The World
The South American continent is a popular tourist destination offering a wide selection of rich culture, breathtaking views and unique experiences for visitors. From the Caribbean coast, to the iconic beaches of Rio de Janeiro there is definitely something suited for everyone in this marvellous continent. If you’re only around for a short period of time, consider the following destinations before jetting back home.
Swing at the end of the world, Ecuador
Also known as the Casa del Arbol or ‘Treehouse’ this one is definitely for those who want an adrenaline rush, and a good shot for their travel album. The Ecuadorian forest is home to a single swing hanging from a cliff-side treehouse, which is also an impressive tourist destination. In the near distance is a majestic view of Mt. Tungurahua which is an active volcano covered with beautiful trees and foliage. No safety net, no harness and a whole lot of adrenaline awaits.
Inca Trek to Machu Picchu, Peru
This popular trek is considered one of South America’s major tourist attractions. Retrace the steps from one of Peru’s oldest ancient civilisations which will take between 2-3 days to complete. The trek’s are taken in small groups, and a local tour guide explaining everything from the ancient city built in the 15th Century. Don’t forget to pack your camera!
Ipanema Beach, Brazil
This little part of the world is well known for it’s strip of clear waters and attracts travellers from all walks of life. You can hike, swim and relax in this family friendly atmosphere with perfect weather year round. The iconic boardwalk is a must if you’re passing through Ipanema, and there is much occupy yourself with since soccer and volleyball games are always on with the locals.
The Amazon, Amazon Basin (runs through numerous countries)
The amazing Amazon Rainforest is a must for any lover of the great outdoors. The best time to visit is generally May through to June since these are the least rainiest months and will offer good weather for travellers. Jungle lodges are located throughout the rainforest, many offering a chance to sleep there overnight. Boat rides, tree climbing and fishing are other fun activities for your stay in the Amazon.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Bolivia’s world famous salt flats are located in the southwest region of the country and are just one of the many highlights in South America. The unique terrain sees the sky and ground reflect onto each other, and as such make for a great experience and one of a kind travel photos. There are many small tours which explore this area and give travellers a unique experience to get up close and personal with the infamous salar de uyuni.
Image via Bit Rebels
By Felicia Sapountzis
Whether you’re heading overseas to escape the wintery weather approaching or simply just require some inspiration for your next trip, definitely add this into your favourites tab. A European summer is like no other, offering a rich sense of culture, food, architecture and unlimited white-sand beaches. Explore our favourite European destinations just in time for your next holiday.
1. Cinque Terre, Italy
This picturesque sea-side village might be plastered all over your Pinterest, but it’s beauty is most definitely in the details. With plenty of vineyards to visit, cafe’s offering the local Mediterranean cuisine and the ocean right next door it’s definitely a hidden gem.
2. Zurich, Switzerland
If you’re interested in an alpine adventure, head up to Zurich which is one of the most underrated European cities. The city combines old architecture with modern influence, lots of shopping (duty free, that is) and lets not forget it’s the birthplace of Lindt chocolate.
3. St Tropez, French Riviera
Full of tourists heading out for some sun during the annual Cannes Film Festival, St Tropez has been a holiday destination to the rich and famous since the early 1950’s. Yacht’s line the harbour, the water is crystal clear and the world famous Plage de Pampelonne is just around the corner.
4. Hvar, Croatia
One of the busiest places during the summer season, Hvar is otherwise known as party central to the many tourists that stop by for some sun. Apart from the annual music festivals, there are many family-friendly locations such as Falko a hideaway near the beach, bike riding through the old town, and tasting some of the best wines Croatia has to offer at Divino.
5. Berlin, Germany
More than just another destination for a keen history buff, Berlin is home to many museums, bars and art galleries that are sure to keep you occupied during your stay. Otherwise known as one of the best value cities in Europe, there is so much to do and see free of charge. Some activities include visiting the East Side Gallery to admire work from local artists or even having a relaxing picnic at Gorlitzer Park.
6. Prague, Czech Republic
Both the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic, Prague is known for it’s numerous museums, galleries and cinemas which come alive in the spring-summer months. Continue east to Letná Beer Gardens which offers a variety of drinks and a bite to eat.
7. Hania, Greece
Located on the large island of Crete, Hania boasts a mainly Venetian influence which is highlighted in the architecture straight down the to cuisine. Tavernas are popular meeting places to eat, drink and dance, while remaining close to one of the many boutique hotels found on the island. There are many places to swim, hike and kayak to explore the large island in all of it’s beauty.
Image via kevinandamanda.com
By Felicia Sapountzis
Dreaming of a holiday? What holiday destinations are on the top of your travel wish list?
The HotelClub Travel Wish List survey asked 2,500 Aussies what destinations they’d love to travel to, and the results have given us a serious case of wanderlust!
The top 10 overseas holiday destinations are:
1. United States
3. United Kingdom
9. New Zealand
Closer to home, the top 10 Australian destinations we’d love to visit are:
4. Gold Coast
6. Hamilton Island
The survey also found that we like culture but we also like to relax when we travel, with 27.3% saying touring cultural and historical sites is the most important holiday activity, followed by 25.5% who admit that relaxing and pampering is on the top of their holiday wish list.
As a nation we also seek destination where we can primarily enjoy water activities like swimming and surfing (14.2%), shop till we drop (6.6%), indulge our passion for photography (5%), and go hiking or bush walking (4.9%). Surprisingly only 3.7% of Australians said their favourite thing to do on holiday was to party!
What’s the top holiday destination on your travel wish list?
Wanna go on a summer holiday with Brad and Jen?
Beauty in GozoIt seems the popularity of the new Brad Pitt blockbuster movie Troy is giving an unexpected boost to tourism on the Mediterranean island of Gozo, Malta. Apparently Pitt and his Friends’ star wife Jennifer Aniston have been reported as visiting the island which is close to Malta where the soon-to-be-released Troy was filmed. Visitor numbers to Gozo have leapt nearly 30% in the last six months, pushing Malta/Gozo to fifth place in the top 10 villa holiday destinations table compiled by the Meon Villas holiday company in the UK. “Leisure breaks by the famous can really put a destination on the map. Just look at the impact of visits to Tuscany by Tony Blair and his family,” said Meon Villas managing director Jane Sheppard. Corfu topped the villas’ top 10, followed by Portugal’s Algarve area and France. Cyprus, which has experienced a 19% growth over the last year, has moved into the top 10 for the first time.
The top 10 villa holiday destinations, with 2003 positions in brackets, are:
The majestic island of Corfu1.(1) Corfu, Greece – known for its hordes of celebrities in summer
2.(2) Algarve, Portugal – Cliff Richards has bought property in this beautiful area of the world.
3.(3) France – Just across the English Channel is this world of wine, cheese and secluded chateaus.
Glorious Menorca4.(4) Menorca, Spain – Miles of pristine beaches.
5.(6) Malta/Gozo – Brad & Jen’s fave holiday location.
6.(5) Majorca, Spain – A favourite for Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffiths
7.(7) Lanzarote, Spain – Party central in the Canary Islands
A Tuscan villa8.(8) Tuscany, Italy – Sting has his own vineyard in this beautiful area of Italy
9.(-) Cyprus – Third largest Mediterranean Island
10.(10) Crete, Greece – Jewel of the Greek Islands
Quick, book now as July and August are peak season in Europe and if you and 10 of your closest pals fancy a villa next to Brad and Jen?s then you?d better get a hop along!
Out and about in Christchurch
Spring in ChristchurchChristchurch’s founders knew a thing or two about public space. Grass knolls, verdant verges and manicured parks greet you at every corner. It’s not called the Garden City for nothing. Christchurch is fabulous this time of year. And central Christchurch is easy to explore on foot (it’s all flat!) – you won’t miss a thing!
For a funky, boho mid-morning meal head to Vivace Espresso (86 Hereford Street, Central City
Christchurch), where you can indulge in home-made crumpets served with heavenly hazelnut honey (NZ$5.50). If you savour something more, er, savoury, get stuck into a mammoth plate of Sweet Corn Fritters served with bacon, grilled tomato and spinach topped with a smoky jalapeno and tomato relish (NZ$12). Coffee is good and strong. Make like a local and order a massive steaming bowl of caf? au lait (NZ$4).
The Arts Centre
After brunch, head to the Arts Centre (Worcester Boulevard, City where local artisans display their wares, unique and hand-crafted ceramics, wood, glass and precious metals. There’s an outdoor market too where you can buy everything from hand-woven scarves in exotic coloured mohair to creamy hand made soaps made from goats milk and scented with Manaku honey, lavender or rose petals.
The brand, spanking new Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu (Worcester Boulevard, City) is a stunning work of art in itself. A mere four months old, this impressive building houses some beautiful Maori art, intriguing contemporary works as well as travelling exhibitions of old masters. Admission is by donation.
Yum Cha is Yum-o!
Food lovers will find endless options in Christchurch from simple sushi to popular Korean BBQs, to Belgian beer or yum cha. For those who like the cutting edge of cuisine, try new kid on the block, Indochine (Oxford Terrace, City) where you can sample super-modern Asian delights with a minimalist opium den ambience. Or if you’re after a low-key but authentic Asian feed, check out Joyful (182 Armagh St, City) where you can feast on deliciously fresh noodles and dumplings at caf? prices.
Out and about in Christchurch (contd)
Yamagen Teppan-YakiHotel restaurants the world-over are usually known for their mediocrity. The Yamagen Japanese restaurant with authentic teppan-yaki grill on the ground floor of the Crowne Plaza Christchurch (Cnr Kilmore & Durham Sts, Christchurch) is booked solid virtually every night, and far from being a kitschy in-house dining option, it is, in fact, a restaurant of choice for many locals.
The Crowne Plaza
After sampling the dining pleasures of the Garden City, you’ll want a good lie down. The Crowne Plaza Christchurch pulls out all the stops when it comes to offering weary travelers a warm welcome.
The rooms, decked out in classy, neutral tones will certainly please your inner princess. The ample storage and roomy hanging space reveals what every girl needs – a divinely fluffy white bathrobe. And after gorging on the large, gold-wrapped lozenge of decadent NZ chocolate lovingly placed on your crisp, white turned-down sheet, you’ll feel like royalty!
And speaking of royalty, The Presidential Suite on the top floor is a gob-smackingly impressive, multi-level affair, which in its time has hosted the kings and queens of the entertainment industry like Janet Jackson, Tom Jones and more recently, Ben Harper.
A room fit for a princess
Christchurch Crowne Plaza has another hidden treasure too, quite possibly one of the best concierges in the southern hemisphere. He knows the best places to eat, the most scenic drives and the best must-see attractions in and around the Christchurch area. His name is Tom and while you’re in town, he could well be your new best friend.
Crowne Plaza Christchurch
Cnr Kilmore and Durham Streets
Christchurch, New Zealand
Phone Australia 1300 666 545 for reservations or visit the web site www.crowneplaza.co.nz
Cardrona – naturally better
Cardrona Alpine ResortCardrona Alpline Resort is a winter wonderland where all standard of snowboarders and skiers can frolic in the naturally beautiful surrounds. Snow bunnies new to boarding and skiing will love the gentle slopes at Cardrona, with 80% of the resort being classed as beginner or intermediate runs. A wide mountain face lets beginners learn the ropes without much fear of being mowed down by impatient pro-skiers. And with some of the best instructors on earth, you?ll be on your feet and on your way in no time.
If you are just starting out, you can hire everything you need from the rental facility at Cardrona. And, for the fashion conscious amongst you, you?re assured of looking the part in the latest gear, as the good folk at Cardrona renew half their hire gear every year to ensure it?s fully functioning and up-to-date.
Snowboarders will particularly love the four half pipes and massive terrain trail ? and Cardrona is a magnet for some of the hottest snowboarders the world over ? and we?re not just talking about their ability?
Ski School for Kids
Cardrona is also a favourite for families who love the fully licensed childcare facilities and integrated ski school for kids. Kids as young as three months can be cared for in the creche, while older kids are introduced to snow-confidence building activities through group lessons. Mum and Dad can keep an eye on their offspring from the window above the Kid?s Corral. But more often than not, they are enjoying the mountain themselves and are more than happy to leave the kids to the more than capable hands of the professional and friendly Cardrona staff.
The Noodle Bar
After a day of carving it up on the mountain, (or falling A over T, as the case may be) rest and refuel in Cardona?s newest drawcard ? the Noodle Bar. Located on the top floor of the resort?s newest building, the Noodle Bar offers excellent views across the snowfields. And for around NZ$12 you can eat your fill of freshly wokked noodles – choose from the menu of tried and tested combinations, or go wild and crazy and make your own selection of fresh veggies, meats, sauces and noodle types. Yum!
Wanaka is on New Zealand?s South Island and is 436kms from Christchurch.
Cardrona Alpine Resort is 35 minutes by car from Wanaka (34kms) and 60 minutes from Queenstown (58kms). Shuttle services also operate from both town centres.
Ski season draws to a close on 5 October, where locals have been known to ski nude down the mountains. Not to be missed.
For more info on Wanaka see www.skilakewanaka.com
It is believed that surfing has existed in Fiji for hundreds of years. Surfing reefs over warm, crystal-clear, turquoise-blue water is a very special experience. The majority of Fiji’s rideable breaks are on offshore reefs that require boat trips. When choosing accommodation, also consider the price of getting to the surf.Sea & Dive Kayaking
Sea and dive kayaking are becoming increasingly popular in Fiji. It is a great way of exploring the coast at a gentle pace. Dive kayaks, which can carry lunch, snorkelling gear and scuba gear, can be double the fun.
Cycling is a good way to explore Fiji. Most roads, especially inland, are rough, hilly and unsealed, so mountain bikes are definitely the best option. The best time to go is the drier season (May to October), and note that the eastern sides of the larger islands receive higher rainfall. Take waterproof gear and a repair kit to be self-sufficient, as it is difficult to get bike parts in Fiji. Some resorts have bikes for hire.
Korina Miller et al
ISBN 1 74059 134 8
Available at all good bookstores.
- A kiss on top of the Eiffel Tower
- See the pyramids and Sphinx in Egypt
- See the Sistine Chapel
- Relax in the Greek Isles
- Go to the top of the Empire State Building
- Sit in the audience of the David Letterman show in New York!
- Visit the Getty Centre in Los Angeles
- Climb the Harbour Bridge in Sydney
- Smoke a joint in a cafe in Amsterdam
- Visit the Taj Mahal in India
- Party hard along the Vegas strip.
- Watch the Tour De France ride home along the Champs Elysee
- See the Kremlin in Moscow
- Ride a horse along Rotten Row, Hyde Park, London
- Eat great tapas in Spain
- Take a gondola ride in Venice
- Go trekking through Nepal
- Smoke cigars in Cuba
- Re-enact the opening scene from The Sound of Music on a mountain top in The Alps!
- Drink HUGE mugs of beer in Germany
- Visit Rio during Carnivale
- Go running with the bulls in Pamplona Spain
- Visit Cannes for the film festival
- Visit a casino in Monte Carlo and rub shoulders with the rich and glamorous
What’s your ultimate travel experience? Have you done it yet, or are you still dreaming? Email us your Once in a lifetime travel wish list and don’t forget to check back next week for more dreamy destinations…
Lonely Planet said: “South America seems to be on every twenty-something’s wish-list. I’ve heard great reports about Peru and also less-visited destinations like Bolivia.”
Top tip: How about at language-study schools abroad? It’s cheap and great fun.
Volcanoes of Guatamala
The coast of Croatia
Lonely Planet said: “Islands and beaches to rival Greece, great scuba diving, medieval towns, delicious food, decent wines, lots of activities such as hiking, rock climbing, yachting. The place is bulging with beautiful churches, castles and museums, and there’s probably a festival or carnival every day. It has that ‘something different’ feel which people are often searching for, and it’s safe to travel around. It’s got everything!”
Buy a copy of Lonely Planet:
Lonely Planet said: “The history, the beaches, the diving and the not-too-touristy cities”, plus the forests of eastern Cuba recently received World Heritage listing. Meanwhile Barcelona’s appeal lies in its vibrancy, beaches, culture, style, good food and great clubs.
Buy a copy of
Lonely Planet said: “This could be the city of the new millennium… beautiful, cosmopolitan Shanghai. A stroll along the Bund and you could be in any European city. Head down an alley and you’re smack in the middle of the Middle Kingdom.”
Buy a copy of Lonely Planet: Shanghai from the SheSaid Bookstore.
Lonely Planet’s talk2us staff are devoted specifically to answering travel questions, responding to product feedback and making sure travellers? insights and suggestions reach the authors. The most popular branch of Lonely Planet’s content-focused Web sites is the Thorn Tree, an online bulletin board that receives over 5000 posts a day and is a great resource for single travellers. Check out www.lonelyplanet.com.
When was the last time you emersed yourself in a sweet smelling, steaming bath?
If you’re mind is a little hazy, then it’s time to experience Melbourne’s Great Indoors.
Visit Melbourne for unrivalled shopping, fabulous food in cosy cafes, a chance to sleep in or treat yourself to a little pampering and then take in some world class sport or theatre. Whatever your passion Melbourne has something to warm
- Return economy air travel
- 3 nights accommodation
- $100 hotel credit offer per room per stay to spend on hotel services
- Melbourne?s Great Indoors Privilege Kit including genuine bonus offers and two-for-one deals to retail outlets, tours, eateries and attractions.
UTAG are offering packages that include a range of accommodation options from 3 to 5 star so no matter what your budget you’ll find something to suit. You can use the $100 credit towards hotel services such as mini-bar, car parking and restaurant meals*.
Package prices start from $382.68* ex Sydney, $489.88* ex Brisbane, $379.13* ex Adelaide, $675.56* ex Perth, $719.98*
Treat yourself, without paying top-dollar, to a heart-warming escape to Melbourne this winter.
For bookings and more information:
For Melbourne Great Indoors value prices and bookings contact UTAG on 13 13 98 or for more information visit Tourism Victoria.
Read all about the culture of Japanese cuisine, home cooking and traditions, shopping and the markets and all things delicious in Japan.
The Lonely Planet name is synonymous with a certain kind of travel. Life-changing, friend-making, soul-awakening journeys. As any self-respecting traveller knows, half the fun is getting there. The other half could quite easily be sampling the cuisine of the country you’re exploring. Or avoiding dodgy dinners that produce the sort of unmentionable digestive ailments that can really give you the shits…so to speak.
Those good folks at Lonely Planet know this too and have been busy the last few years producing country-specific eating guides to tantalise your tastebuds and reward even the most fickle diners with memorable meals from India to Ireland. The latest in their scrumptious series is World Food Japan, a funky pocket guide to eating and drinking Nippon-style.
This little wasabi green gastronomical tome is not just for the traveller either. Those with a yen for Yaki-zakan, a taste for Tsukemono or a soft spot for Sado will relish this guide. And for those of you unfamiliar with the delicious delicacies of Japanese cuisine, this book will not only demystify what you eat, but when and how you eat it. You’ll soon be craving tai no shio-yaki, shabu-shabu and namagashi.
With chapters including The Culture of Japanese Cuisine, Home Cooking and Traditions, Regional Zariations and Shopping and Markets, World Food Japan covers it all from buying to preparing and most importantly, the eating! Yum. You’ll also find in-depth descriptions of the ingredients commonly used in this elegant and delicious cuisine.
A dictionary of culinary terms will acquaint the novice and expert a like with common and some more obscure menu items and food and drink terminology. The Eat Your Words Language Guide will have you ordering everything from sushi to sake like an expert.
SheSaid’s favourite phrase? kore wa anata no ogori desu ne? This is your shout, right?
STOP THE CHOP from World Food Japan
“Waribashi, the ‘chopsticks that split’, are ubiquitous in modern Japanese life. Enough are used, and discarded, each year to build 30,000 homes. Most of the raw materials come from Japan’s South-East Asian neighbours. If you don’t wish to add to the environmental plunder, carry your own re-usable chopsticks, and simply refuse the disposable variety. If it causes a wee hiatus, worry not. You haven’t mortally offended anyone, you’ve just done what 24,500,000,000 Japanese don’t do, every year.” p102