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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Wine lovers guide: Australia

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.

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Tallest Hotels in Australia

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.

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Best Short Trip Destinations in Australia

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.

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Top 10 Events in Melbourne, Autumn 2013

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.

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