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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

Posts in ‘Things to do in Australia’

Ancient reef found in Australian outback

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A reef ten times larger than the Great Barrier Reef has been discovered in the Australian outback.

At 650 million years old it is believed to be unique in its age and may therefore hold information about a previously uncertain period of primitive life during its formation between two ices ages.

Situated in the northern Flinders Range in Southern Australia, it was discovered by scientists from the University of Melbourne.

"Some of the complex organisms we have seen in the reef have never been discovered previously," associate professor Malcolm Wallace told the Times.

Professor Wallace confirms that the reef is "the right age to capture the precursors to animals", having formed some 80 million years before the oldest fossilised animal remains on record.

Dubbed the Oodnaminta Reef, it is too old to have been made of coral and instead comprises "complex, chambered structures that have not been discovered before," according to the professor.

Just last week it was announced that hundreds of new species of plant and animal life had been discovered at Australia”s Great Barrier Reef, which is one of the most visited natural attractions in the world.

Seniors – Historic Tours – From the Roman Empire to the second world war, these tours bring world history to life.ADNFCR-1652-ID-18794947-ADNFCR

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Jazz hits Sydney in October

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This year”s Manly International Jazz Festival will take place between October 4th and October 6th featuring a host of talent from across the globe.

The small coastal town of Manly is located on the outskirts of Sydney and the festival is a free event that takes place across five outdoor stages.

Headline performances from the Sydney All Star Big Band on the Bland Aid Stage, Dr Vs Swing Thing on the Jazz Stars of the Future stage and the Beau Golden Quartet on the Markets by the Sea stage will all feature at this year”s festival.

Two groups from the US, Wycliffe Gordon and Light of Love, are also set to grace the Bland Aid Stage on the final day.

Organisers will also be marking the 31st Manly Jazz Festival with a tribute to Charlie Parker, featuring the US-born local altoist Andrew Speight, which will be taking place at the Star and the Sea Theatre on the final day.

Special Interest – Nightlife – From an extravagant meal to an eerie ghost walk – plenty of things to keep you entertained after the sun goes down.
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18780183-ADNFCR

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Congratulations to Sarah Stocks!

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Congratulations to Sarah Stocks, winner of the isango! Perfect Holiday Contest.

Sarah entertained, surprised and inspired us all with her creative description of paradise, entitled ‘Tropical Rainforest? Or is it?’.

Having received the most public votes throughout the month-long competition, she is now entitled to £500 worth if isango! products.

Way to go, Sarah!

Here is her (scandalous!) entry:

Tropical Rainforest? Or is it?’

He looks right into my eyes with his soulful browns, rippling muscles, dressed only in a small loin cloth. “I want to take you to a secret place high in the rainforest” he says “we can make a hammock from the vines.” His voice is so sultry, so sexy. But no, I can’t. Yes, it sounds like paradise, but I am here with my new husband on honeymoon, and he is waiting for me. “I’m so sorry I need to go.” He looks sad for a moment then says “okay, but please let me walk with you to keep you company.” We stroll in the scorching heat, passing all sorts of wild and crazy animals. We walk for miles and eventually reach my partner standing beside a huge castle. My tall, dark stranger turns to me and whispers in my ear, “maybe tomorrow you will return? Balou was looking forward to meeting you and we really need a hand to stitch that hammock.” I replied, “we’ll see, Tarzan – I still haven’t seen Tigger yet, so that’s tomorrow’s goal.” I turn to my husband with freshly dripping ice cream in his hands and think to myself, “I love Disneyland…”

Ooh la la, Sarah! Great work. We hope that your holiday fantasy comes true!

Tours:
Enchanted Rainforest Dinner

Daintree Rainforest Tour

Disneyland Adventure

Disneyworld Adventure

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To climb or not to climb

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Climbing the rock is a personal decision to make In response to a question by a member of the public, an article in the Times seeks to understand whether it is a good idea to climb Ayer”s Rock, or Uluru.

The Australian attraction pulls in almost 500,000 tourists a year, and until recently, almost half made the arduous hour-long climb up the steep rock.

They would do so holding a hand chain pegged into the stone as they went all the way up to the summit, 1,142 feet above sea level.

But now it is estimated that less than a third of all visitors attempt the climb, thanks largely to the greater sensitivity towards the local Aboriginals, for whom this is a sacred site, the Times says.

Though it is not illegal (as climbing the Pyramids or the Parthenon), local Aboriginals request visitors not to climb the rock because the path crosses a sacred traditional Dreamtime track – meaning that climbing the rock is basically a personal decision to make.

Uluru / Ayers Rock – Visit the Aboriginal sacred site which is Australia”s most visited tourist attraction.
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18753340-ADNFCR

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Auckland Heritage Festival coming up

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Auckland was founded in 1840
As a British colonial settlement Auckland came into existence in 1840 as the site chosen for his capital by the first governor, Lieutenant William Hobson.

From September 20th until October 5th, visitors to Auckland can celebrate the unique stories and secrets of the city during the 2008 Auckland Heritage Festival.

Packed with more than 100 exciting events and activities across the city, the programme will include guided walks and tours, exhibitions, open days, film screenings, harbour trips and other family-friendly activities.

With everything from art and architecture to fashion and music, the festival is suitable for people of all ages and interests.

The festival is part of Auckland”s campaign to protect heritage areas and buildings and to encourage the public to celebrate their city”s heritage.

Auckland is New Zealand”s largest city and is uniquely set between two harbours, amongst 11 extinct volcanoes and numerous islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18750971-ADNFCR

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Puke Ariki Museum in New Zealand

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The Puke Ariki Museum in New Zealand tells the stories of the Taranaki region and people, which gets its name from Mount Taranaki, the second-highest peak in the country.

Located in New Plymouth, Taranaki”s biggest city, the museum describes life in the region through exhibitions, displays, collections and technology.

Puke Ariki has four permanent exhibitions on display – Te Takapou Whariki o Taranaki, Taranaki Experience, Taranaki Life and Taranaki Naturally, all of which hold treasures that belong to and have shaped the history of the people and place of Taranaki.

Delve deeper into the stories of the region, some of which can be sourced to previously unpublished Maori writings – these accounts from the past are told using light, sound, and push-button interactives.

The museum is open from 9:00 to 18:00 on weekdays, except Thursday when it is open until 21:00.

On weekends, the opening hours are 9:00 to 17:00.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.

ADNFCR-1652-ID-18746382-ADNFCR

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War Memorial Museum in Auckland

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The museum traces the history of Auckland before it became a major metropolisEstablished in 1852, the Auckland War Memorial Museum is New Zealand”s oldest museum.

From humble beginnings (it started in a two-room farm cottage in the central Auckland suburb of Grafton), the museum today is home to millions of objects.

It also provides educational services to more than 60,000 school children annually, and is one of New Zealand”s most popular tourist attractions with around half a million visitors every year.

The museum tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people.

It is also a war memorial and houses one of the country”s top three heritage libraries.

Visitors can enjoy the museum”s Maori and Pacific collections, the major social and military history items on display, as well as decorative arts and pictorial exhibitions.

Open daily from 10:00 to 17:00, visitors can enjoy late evenings at the museum on Wednesdays.

Admission is free of charge.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18741707-ADNFCR

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South East Asian night market in Wellington

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On August 16th, a South East Asian night market will be held at the TSB Arena in Wellington.

Running from 14:00 until 22:00, it offers visitors a chance to experience the warmth, fragrances and flavours of a typical South East Asian market.

So while you may be visiting New Zealand, you will feel like you are in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia or Vietnam.

Highlights include Wayang Kulit puppeteers from Indonesia, martial arts demonstrations from the Philippines and Vietnam, traditional Batik from Malaysia, as well as continuous music and dance from South East Asian countries.

Meanwhile, the Singapore High Commission and the Royal New Zealand Plunket Society will hold a charity raffle.

In addition, you can taste a variety of delicacies from the different food stalls, and can even buy things like spices and souvenirs to take home with you.

So bring along the whole family to enjoy the food and culture of South East Asia.

Culture and Sightseeing – City Tours – Whichever city you are in these tours will help to ensure you do not miss a thing.

ADNFCR-1652-ID-18730196-ADNFCR

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Sydney Opera House named Modern Wonder of the World

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The Opera House beat the Eiffel Tower to reach the top spotSydney”s Opera House has been named as the top Modern Wonder of the World in a poll by Halifax Travel Insurance.

The famous Australian building beat the Eiffel Tower, which came in at number two, as well as Rio de Janeiro”s iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, which was named number three.

Situated on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the building and its surroundings are one of the best known in Australia.

Construction started in 1959 and work was finally completed in 1973.

The Opera House is the home of Opera Australia, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony.

It is administered by the Sydney Opera House Trust, under the New South Wales Ministry of the Arts.

Last year, it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was also amongst the 20 finalists in the New Seven Wonders of the World project.

Sydney – Take a cruise of Sydney Harbour or relax on the white sands on Manly Beach.
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18723266-ADNFCR

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Horeke in Hokianga, New Zealand

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Holidaymakers to New Zealand should make sure to visit Horeke, the first European settlement in the Hokianga region in the country.

The town is also the second oldest in New Zealand, making it a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the country.

Horeke sprang up almost overnight when an Australian firm established a shipyard in 1826.

Visitors can enjoy the old buildings of the town which were mostly built over water, because there was no land for sale at the time they were constructed.

One attraction is the Wesleyan mission station which was established to the west of Horeke around 1838.

The Wesleyans had started their work ten years before with the support of Chief Eruera Patuone, who is believed to have had some contact as a small boy with members of Captain Cook”s crew.

While the old mission church has gone, the churchyard with its gravestones remains.

Seniors – Historic Tours – From the Roman Empire to the second world war, these tours bring world history to life.
ADNFCR-1652-ID-18722887-ADNFCR

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