Family holidays on the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast, stretching along 60 kilometres of East Australia’s pristine coastline, with theme parks, great beaches, rainforest and activities galore, makes for a perfect family holiday location.  There are plenty of family orientated hotels and resorts available, ranging from luxury options to those designed for the more budget conscious. Below are some of the best:

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Floriade, Australia

As a celebration for the coming of spring, Australia’s Floriade festival is the largest flora and fauna show in Australia, with over one million blooming flowers being showcased.  The festival runs for 4 weeks from mid-September each year in Canberra’s Commonwealth Park and entry is free.  The event attracts approximately 400,000 people each year from across Australia, as well as international visitors.

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Hippest hotel bars in Australia

A stay at a great hotel is undoubtedly enhanced by the typical Aussie hospitality provided by a cool hotel bar.  Some are so great that it’s not only the hotel guests that are attracted for a drink or two. Below are the top 5 hippest hotel bars in Australia, worth checking out even if you’re not checking in.

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Izakaya, Australian style

An Izakaya is a type of Japanese bar, traditionally with a relaxed and casual atmosphere, serving good drinks and an accompanying food selection.  From its origins of allowing customers to sit in the shop selling sake to its popularity throughout Japan, the appeal of good drink, sake and Japanese tapas style food has crossed the Pacific Ocean to Australia which is now proud to host several of its own Izakayas.  Check out the top 5 below:

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To and from the airport in Australia’s cities

Melbourne

Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport is located 22km outside of the city centre with several travel options available to those arriving or departing from Victoria’s capital.

Sky Bus – an express bus service running direct between the airport and the city centre. The service is available every 10 minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including all public holidays.  Tickets can be bought at the bus stop at the airport or Southern Cross Station.  For up to date pricing check www.skybus.com.au.

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Best beachfront hotels in Australia

Australia is famed for its beaches – great expanses of soft, fine sand, lapped by clear, turquoise waters.  From surfing and snorkelling to sunbathing and barbecuing, the Aussie lifestyle is centred around beach culture and when they welcome guests, the Australians certainly encourage them to get in on the action. Some of the very best hotels in Australia face onto the ocean, so here’s a rundown of some of the finest in each coastal state:

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Oversize luggage – the definitive guide

Hitting the slopes?  Jet-set rockstar on tour?  Young family off on holiday?  Travelling with extra baggage can be tricky and troublesome but is often necessary.  Airlines place restrictions on the size and weight of passengers’ luggage allocation.  Luggage that exceeds these limits has to be flagged up because it must be factored into the flight weight and balance formula.  Additionally, some aircrafts have limited space for oversized bags.

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Secret views of Paris

Paris, city of lights and romance, art and culture, is home to a number of world famous landmarks including the Mona Lisa’s residence – the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and of course, standing proudly in the Parisian skyline, The Eiffel Tower.  But before you scramble up its 324m to feverishly snap the panoramic view, consider this: if you are on the Eiffel Tower, you cannot see it and what is a picture postcard photograph of Gay Paris without La Tour Eiffel?  You can enjoy different vistas of the city from these alternative points of view.

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Top city bike rides in Melbourne

A great way to explore Victoria’s bustling, cosmopolitan capital is on wheels.  Melbourne has been voted one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities; its scenic cycle trails take in the city’s sights and sounds, perfect for getting to grips with the layout and experiencing all the charms and flavours on offer.  What’s more, there are no time restrictions on a bike ride so urban adventures can be enjoyed at any pace.  The Capital City Trail in its entirety is a 30km loop which, for die-hard cyclists, can be completed in one go.  Alternatively, shorter sections can be enjoyed more thoroughly.  Cycling each part of the trail is the most comprehensive way to cover the city including its inner suburbs and classic landmarks, all on car-free, dedicated and signposted cycle paths.  It is mostly flat but there are a couple of flights of steps including the infamous Abbotsford steps on Gipps Street.  Follow these trails to discover another side of Melbourne:

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Madrid’s top tapas

The most authentic way to relax in Spain is to eat and drink with friends, a pastime the Spanish have down to a fine art.  Tapas is one of the country’s national dishes and a must for tourists to try.  Legend holds that King Alfonso X recovered from ill health by drinking wine accompanied by small dishes of food and consequently decreed that taverns should serve snacks with wine.  Alternatively, the etymological explanation has it that drinkers used to cover their drinks with a card or slice of bread to keep the flies out and it became a habit to place a snack on the lid; the Spanish verb ‘tapar’ means to cover.

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