Imagine sipping a chilled glass of Champagne or an expertly mixed cocktail as you watch the sun set and the lights of the big city start to twinkle in the growing dark – now imagine you’re doing that dozens of floors up a soaring skyscraper.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 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.
As a city, Sydney ticks all the boxes for famous attractions, incredible beaches, international cuisine and a great range of nightlife. However, set in amongst the more well-known areas and tourist attractions, are some small drinking establishments which allow those who enjoy being part of a less commercial and trendy bar scene the chance to kick back and relax alternative style. Ensure you don’t miss out on these top 5: