Australia is becoming increasingly popular with wine lovers. Growers in the new world are not subject to as many regulations as in the old world and have the freedom to be more experimental which has resulted in exciting new tastes being developed all over the country. A great way to get to know what is available is to visit the source. Vineyard tours and cellar door tastings are fun, informative ways to spend sunny days enjoying wonderful flavours and aromas. Tour operators and hotels offer guided excursions around nearby wineries many of which include transportation, entry fees and wine and food at all locations for full, fuss-free enjoyment.
Australia had a decent but modest cluster of high-rises for decades. That is until the aughts. The last decade has produced not one but two stunners in Melbourne’s Eureka Tower – the tallest skyscraper in the country from base to roof – and Gold Coast’s Queensland Number One (Q1) – the fifth-tallest residential tower in the world.
Not all of that choice real estate is for office space and plush flats either. A slew of hotel towers proliferates from Perth to Sydney and makes the urban hospitality scene in Australia one of the most progressive and impressive in Asia Pacific.
Australia is arguably the motherland of day trips, weekend trips and, indeed, road trips in general. The abundance of excellent, singular sights and destinations is a foremost cause but so too is the country’s geography.
Think about it. Name another country with a city as cosmopolitan and vibrant as a Melbourne, Perth or Sydney that, as it happens, has so many rare gems on the doorstep. And by gems, we mean epic UNESCO World Heritage Sites and national parks, from the Gondwana Rainforests to the Greater Blue Mountains, world-class wine regions and historic towns.
Places that dominate the big, global quality-of-life indices – your Viennas, your Vancouvers, your Helsinkis – do so on the basis of public safety, hygiene, environment, economic stability and the like. Pretty humdrum stuff. Culture and recreation, however, also play vital roles and help determine whether a city merely delivers the bare minimum or, preferably, enriches and stimulates as well. Patrons of Melbourne city hotels know what this is all about.
The state capital of Victoria has long stood proudly atop many a livability index (The Economist Intelligence Unit index for 2012 is a prominent case). That the metropolis on the Yarra succeeds with such banal regularity is a credit to a lively arts, culture and extracurricular scene that, simply put, makes Melbourne a fun, attractive place to live and, indeed, visit.