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With its glorious harbour, lavish golden beaches and iconic landmarks, Sydney is Australia’s showpiece city. Creative and curious, discover the world-class cuisine, indigenous culture, and irresistible beach life that make Sydney one of the world’s most dynamic, exciting destinations. Sydney’s sparkling harbour is the heart of a richly cultural city. Overlooked by the metallic curves of the masterpiece of an Opera House, and that grand arched harbour bridge. Take it all in from the water, and admire the iconic landmarks, which are set before the city’s gleaming skyline backdrop. View less
If you’re feeling adventurous, take the legendary climb up the smooth curve of the bridge – nicknamed the Coathanger – to soak in the shining city’s spread from a unique perspective. Spread out to tan on one of the world’s most famous stretches of sand – Bondi Beach. Restaurants and bars burble away in the background, while the sun beams down, and surfers curl and leap over pure rollers. Swim in spectacular salty ocean pools, or wander the beautiful Bondi to Coogee coastal walk for more of this sun-gorged stretch of prime coastline. Leaving the thrills of Australia’s largest city behind is surprisingly simple – take to the skies to be flown above skyscrapers and rippling ribbons of waves, out to majestic peaks, sheer cliffs and iconic rock formations – like the Three Sisters of the Blue Mountains. Or, drop in on wildlife sanctuaries caring for the country’s animals – from hopping kangaroos to adorably cute, cuddly koalas.
Known as an agricultural and pastoral town in the past and as an industrial center after the 1850’s gold rush, Geelong is now experiencing record growth, economic development and investment. Its name originates from the Aboriginal word for bay – jillong. Located on the shores of Corio Bay, this bustling metropolis, second-largest city in Victoria and gateway to the spectacular Ocean Road has always had strong links with the water. Interest in renovating the waterfront and investing in museums and tourism facilities has grown in recent years. View less
The results can be seen in the vibrant waterfront precinct, the Art Deco Eastern Beach and by the number of holiday makers increasing each year.
Mount Wellington’s looming, cloud-wisped form is an ever-present sight as you explore booming Hobart, the cosmopolitan capital of Australia’s most southerly state. A former British penal colony, nowadays Australia’s second-oldest city is a place to live the free and easy life. Encircled by dramatic cliffs, landscaped gardens and rolling vineyards, Hobart is also well stacked with cultural pursuits including museums, and respected – if controversial – galleries plastering new and old art to their walls. View less
With fresh sea breezes and a fabulous location, Hobart is a creative place, where you can browse the produce of local artisans in Saturday’s massive Salamanca Market – which draws visitors from all across Tasmania and beyond. Eat at waterfront restaurants, or rise up Mount Wellington’s slopes to appreciate the remoteness of Hobart’s location. From this elevated platform, you can look down across views of flowing forests, undulating mountains and endless ocean swallowing up the city. Further away, animal sanctuaries introduce you to the island’s famous inhabitants, including the famous Tasmanian devil. Thirsty? Hobart has a long brewing tradition – so enjoy a refreshing ale poured from the country’s oldest brewery. The climate’s blend of generous sunshine and cool Antarctic breezes helps Hobart to produce its acclaimed wines, and thick clumps of pinot noir grapes hang from vineyards dotted along the valleys nearby. Taste the wines, accompanied by a platter of artisan cheese and sausage. Whiskey aficionados aren’t left in the cold either, with international award-winning distilleries close by.
Port Arthur is a village and historic site in southern Tasmania, Australia. Sitting on the Tasman Peninsula, it was a 19th-century penal settlement and is now an open-air museum. Ruins include the huge penitentiary and the remaining shell of the Convict Church, which was built by inmates. Solitary confinement cells in the Separate Prison building were used to inflict mental punishment in place of floggings.
At the head of one of New Zealand’s loveliest harbours lies gracious, dignified Dunedin. It was envisioned by its Scottish founders as the “Edinburgh of the South”. The city boasts a wealth of fine Victorian and Edwardian buildings, complete with spires, gables and gargoyles. Its Scottish heritage is evoked in street names and the sturdy appeal of its handsome stone buildings. Dunedin’s unique charm prompted one of its most famous visitors, Mark Twain, to write, “The people here are Scots. They stopped here on their way to heaven, thinking they had arrived.” True to its heritage, Dunedin boasts the country’s only kilt maker and whisky distillery, as well as a statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns in the heart of the city.
Named by the Maoris as Te Maru – which translates as ‘Place of Shelter’ – you’re guaranteed a warm and refreshing welcome here. The location means Timaru has understandably been adopted as something of a pitstop for road trips by many but with charming Edwardian architecture a lively port and prime fishing opportunities – there is a lot to keep you hooked. Beachside charm awaits at Caroline Bay while birds tweet and chatter in the botanical gardens where pink and purple petalled flowers unfold.
With pretty painted cottages, overflowing verdant balconies and street names such as Rue Lavaud and Fleur Lane, you could be forgiven for thinking that you have stepped onto the streets of Provence upon arrival in Akaroa. And yet, here you are, in New Zealand’s South Island, less than 50 kilometres from Christchurch. The French connection stems from 1838, when Captain Jean Francois Langlois acquired the land for six British pounds (and questionable circumstances) from the Maoris.
He then travelled home to France in order to bring back anyone who might want to join him in his new life. However, during his travels, the Treaty of Waitangi was signed (signatories included two Akaroa Maori chiefs) and New Zealand’s first Governor, Hobson, declared sovereignty over the whole of New Zealand. Thus when Langlois and his settlers arrived back, they were faced with a choice: either return home to France or stay on. They chose the latter, and their legacy prevails. There are many stunning places on the coast of New Zealand, but none of them can quite hold a candle to Akaroa. Visually, it is stunning. Surrounded by natural wonders, the town (Maori for “Long Harbour”) stands on a peninsula formed by two volcanic cones, and is self-styled as nature’s playground. Such a moniker might seem superlative for other destinations, but not here: sheep graze almost right to the water’s edge, dolphins are regularly spotted in the many small, secluded bays and Lord of the Rings grandeur stretches as far as the eye can see.
Lodged between high mountains and the Pacific Ocean, on New Zealand’s South Island, it is said that no two views in Kaikoura are the same. Look left, and you’ll see snow caped peaks and rolling meadows. Look right, and you’ll see seals hauling out on rugged shores. Look straight ahead and you’ll see nothing except the wide expanse of the Pacific. Kaikoura’s claim to fame is its rich abundance of marine life. View less
Visitors have a 95% chance of spotting giant sperm whales, as well as dusky dolphins, orcas and humpback whales, regardless of whether you are travelling by boat or by air. Additionally, New Zealand Fur Seals live in the shallow waters of the town’s peninsula, and surely there can be no greater experience than swimming alongside the playful marine mammal in its natural habitat. Very little is known about the town’s Māori history, although the word “Kaikoura” translates in the Māori language as a ‘meal of crayfish’ (‘kai’ meaning ‘food’, ‘koura’ meaning ‘crayfish’). In Māori legend, the great fisherman Maui placed his foot on the Kaikoura peninsula to steady himself while he fished the North Island from the sea with his fishhook taken from his grandmother’s jaw-bone. The legend attracted Māori settlers to the coast, and several of their settlements (pa) can still be seen from the peninsula. More recently, Captain Cook discovered the region in 1770, although believed it to be an island. European settlers began a thriving whaling trade in the 1840s, which only ceased in the mid-1960s.
Tauranga is the principal city of the Bay of Plenty. The founders of Tauranga, 19th-century missionaries, left a legacy of well-planned parks and gardens for today’s residents and visitors to enjoy.
Blending beachy recreation with all the delights of a modern, diverse and thoroughly multicultural city, Auckland sits on the lucid blue-green waters of New Zealand’s north island. Known as the ‘City of Sails’, its two harbours will tempt you with waterfront walks, and the chance to breathe fresh sea air deep into your lungs while absorbing spectacular views of Auckland’s grand harbour bridge’s span.
Take in the true scale of Auckland’s magnificent cityscape by ascending 192 metres to the Sky Tower, and looking out over the city’s gleaming silver towers, which reflect on the abundant waters below. Views over the bay and adjacent islands await, and you can share elegant cocktails at this dizzying height, above the mingling yachts of Viaduct Harbour. Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the area at Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tāmaki. Set beside tranquil fountains and handsomely landscaped flowerbeds of Albert Park, the French-Renaissance building houses New Zealand’s most extensive art collection, and exhibits works from Māori and Pacific artists. New Zealand is world-renowned for its captivating natural scenery, and day trips across the sparkling bays, to nearby islands like Waiheke, Tiritiri Matangi, and Rangitoto, are always tempting. Discover lava caves, grape-laden vineyards and flourishing wildlife in the Hauraki Gulf’s islands. You’ll also find an exceptional 360-degree panorama over the city, to the horizon beyond, from the heights of ancient Mount Eden. The spectacular dormant volcano rises improbably from a city suburb, and also lends its name to Eden Park – the unusual, translucent stadium of New Zealand’s mighty All Blacks.
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